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My Memorial Day

As we have the last several years, my family and I went to the Memorial Day Service at Ft. Sheridan Cemetery in Highwood, Illinois. We have always found this ceremony to be very nice; solemn, reverent and appropriate. The crowd this year was larger than in years past, too; which was nice to see.

Flags of all service branches were proudly displayed yet even these seemed pay respect to our country’s flag, standing in the foreground. The flags were really a sight even though the wind didn’t cooperate so we could see the fronts of the flags. Perhaps it was fitting that the service flags were facing our country’s flag. Hint: flip the photos horizontally if you wish to read the wording and see the logos correctly. I almost did this but wanted to present it as it actually was.

After a few remarks by a gentleman from a nearby Greek Orthodox Church and the fort’s commanding officer, Old Glory was hoisted to her appointed position atop the flagpole and then lowered to a reverent half-mast position as Taps played.

I caught several sights typical of the day after the ceremony. The ‘You are not forgotten’ message on the POW-MIA flag seemed very appropriate for the day. The commanding officer also took time after the ceremony to visit with the Boy Scouts who had placed flags at all the graves. We visited a couple of those graves.

We visited the grave of a friend of my Dad’s. The first time we visited this grave was the first time my Dad even knew that his friend had also been in Vietnam. His friend never spoke of it; only of the other wars he had been in.

We also visited the grave of another hometown hero; aren’t they all hometown heroes in their own right? This grave can always be easily spotted as it’s always highly decorated. I don’t know the significance of the rocks placed atop the grave marker but I’m sure the story is touching. I work with a friend of this family so perhaps I’ll get to find out.

Others were visiting other graves, too, of course. I can only imagine the stories they could share; they could probably never be compiled in a lifetime of work.

With so many deaths in so many wars; I don’t know that there’s any greater demonstration of the fact the freedom comes at great cost and sacrifice. We need to be sure to remember every day, not just today, what people have given to protect the freedoms we enjoy. I hope everyone had a special Memorial Day.

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