My blog buddy Jack commented that he would like to see the presentation I gave at the Memorial Day service today so that's what follows.
We are gathered here today not to celebrate Veterans Day, which honors those who served, or Armed
In the beginning, it was called Decoration Day. I read where people who lived near Civil War battlefields would scatter flowers across the land where both Union and Confederate troops had died. The number of deaths in that conflict was staggering.
The bloodiest battle of that war was at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where 50,000 men died are were gravely wounded. That’s close to the population of Walker County.
Communities across the North and South lost sons, fathers, and brothers and with them. Their hopes and dreams were forever lost.
As you know, the bloodshed didn’t end with the Civil War. Our country has been engaged in conflict many times over the course of history. WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan all of which came with a hefty price tag paid with the blood of men and women who signed up to serve our country.
Decoration Day evolved into Memorial Day and in the 20th century grew to honor all men and women who died in service to our nation. We observe the federal holiday on the last Monday of May.
It’s hard to find a family that has not been touched by war. If you walk through most any cemetery in any community, you will find military markers with dates that match wars and conflicts.
When my mom was still living, there were pictures in her family album of her baby brother Marvin Lee Ferguson. He was a carefree kid seeing the world from the deck of the USS California, which was a Navy battleship.
He was in the Pacific in 1941 about to celebrate Christmas in Hawaii, but on December 7 of that year, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. In less than two hours, 2500 people had died, one of which was Uncle Marvin Lee, who died before WWII officially began.
He was the first person from Walker County killed. The local VFW hall is named his honor.
I have his picture on the wall of my office I often wonder what kind of man he would have become had he not died on that sunny Sunday in Hawaii.
These days, Memorial Day is recognized as the first holiday of summer and people spend the day eating Bar-B-Que, drinking sweet tea, and preparing for upcoming summer vacations.
On this Memorial Day, I am thankful for the opportunity to live in this country. Where we have the freedom to travel anywhere we want and the freedom to celebrate with our family and friends. But we should NEVER forget those who picked up the tab.