ArticleID: 75
Date: 5/29/2001
Written By: Captain Jackson

by Captain Jackson

Memorial Day began a bit overcast, as was the surreal mood of the occasion. It was a day set aside for our fallen soldiers. It was also a day to remember the great military conflicts of the past and how they had molded our world into what it is today. For most people even into their forties, with the exception of DESERT STORM, our country has had no real conflicts to involve people so far as serving in a war. And so, it is important that we remember our past---if only to be aware that history can, and will, always repeat itself if we allow it to.

At 10:00am the Parade began in Downtown Jackson and slowly made it`s way down Jackson Street to Greenwood, and finally into the Mount Evergreen Cemetery. And I must say, this year`s parade was the best I have seen in years thanks to the many participants.

Included where the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club, The American Legion, The Vietnam Veterans of America, The Jackson High School Marching Band, The Lumen-Christi Marching Band, The local chapter of The POW-MIA Veterans, The Army Reserve, The Parkside Middle School Marching Band, The BPO Elks, The VFW and the Boy Scouts to name but a few. Even a few politicians who had served their county made their way down the street.

After the Parade, at the cemetery ceremony , I mentioned my respect to two members of the Honor Guard. "I did not have the honor of serving my country, but I come from a family who not only served, but saw active duty in every war since the turn of the twentieth century."

"Then you don`t really know then", one replied.

"No Sir, I was too young to even volunteer during the Vietnam conflict." With that he told me how he respected my presence at the ceremony, and how lucky I am to have never had the same experiences almost every male member of my family had had since World War I.

I do remember the stories my Father and Grandfather would occasionally tell. Sometimes it would come out after a few drinks, sometimes after a bit of emotional anxiety. But the few times the stories did come out, they were never the kind that would leave me with anything but remorse in my heart for what they must have gone through. That`s what Memorial Day, and the Parade and Service was really about.

The service was led by Walt Davis, the Commander of the County Veterans Council. He is also the person responsible for the success of the entire event. After the opening words and the Presenting of Arms by the Color Guard, it was time for the singing of the National Anthem. At that precise moment, a gentle wind began to blow, the sun made it`s first appearance of the day, and the American Flag began to fly!

Speeches were given by Walt Davis, Mayor Martin Griffin, Bob McNitt, Judy Reynolds, to name but a few, with prayer by Pastor Walter Harmon. Probably the most touching story was that of local businessman Fred Bahlau, the most decorated World War II veteran in our area.

After the speeches, a wreath placing ceremony took place. Then Jim Kulas played taps and a cannon salute was fired from on top of the hill. Afterward, there was a solemn silence that seemed to fall upon many of those who attended the parade and service. I know it certainly did with me.

Copyright 2001, CFC

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