To the Editor:
Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, and American Legion Post 62, and their Ladies Auxiliaries, and local veterans and/or families of the deceased veterans wish to thank the local community and various organizations for their support for the real reason we gather to "celebrate," or rather, "join in recognition" or "memorialize" those servicemen who gave their lives; or served, survived and then served this community until age or disease claimed their lives in the final "battle."
We wish to thank the GOWD committee for including us in their activities and for not scheduling other activities during the Memorial services. We wish to thank both newspapers, KRAI and Channel 27 for their coverage. We thank John and Marylou Allen for providing the sound system at the cemetery. We thank the community of Maybell for inviting us to honor their buried servicemen. We thank all those who brought old worn-out flags to the parade so that they can be retired in proper fashion at a ceremony to be scheduled later this year. We thank those who turned out to the cemetery to honor our fallen comrades and the services for William Banister. We thank those who paused from their busy schedules and all the other scheduled activities to tend to their loved ones' graves. We thank God for only providing a slight drizzle over the cemetery while it poured and hailed across the immediate area. We thank all those who came to mark the graves of the 542 servicemen with flags and then returned to pick them up in the late evening rains. A special thanks to Charley Williams and his grandmom, and Vic Beckett and his family who have marked graves for 50-plus years.
We also thank anyone who stopped and paused to remember those who gave their lives 60 years ago so that we can gather freely or go wherever we desire at the end of May each year ... and those who are currently serving in foreign lands to preserve that freedom we all take for granted.
Unfortunately, there were still some negatives ... we, as a nation, have forgotten to honor our national colors as they pass in a parade. Rise, stand, uncover, and place your hands over your hearts. Say thanks to any living veteran you see or know. Some who served during the Vietnam War still have not been welcomed home publicly or honored for their service. And if the colors are presented in a street fair such as the local downtown merchants provided ... render those colors the respect they deserve. Pause from the festivities and give thanks for your freedoms "to choose what you do on Memorial Day" and also realize in other parts of the world the serviceman (insurgent) may be packing the explosives or driving the vehicle packed with explosives with the intent to create as much murder and destruction as possible in the crowded marketplace. Thanks again to all who took the time to honor our fallen comrades. God Bless America.
VFW Post 4265 and Ladies Auxiliary,
American Legion Post 62
and Ladies Auxiliary,
Johnny Garcia CVSO,
Bill Harding Local Veterans Employment Rep
and families of local servicemen