In our nation’s history millions of families received the last letter home or saw the terrifying site of a messenger coming to your door as the ‘grim reaper’ . These men and women, one million and two hundred thousand of them, have given their lives for the safety, security and the freedom of our nation, and often times, the safety, security and freedom of the rest of the world.
That as VFW Post Commander Ben Seeker reminded the solemn gathering at the Veteran’s Plaza at Fireman’s Park today (Monday), was the true meaning of Memorial Day. The Veterans Association of Washington County held the commemorative ceremony there since the Plaza was finished some twelve years ago.
Ground was broken for the Plaza on September 6th, 2001. At the time most thought people would soon forget the terror of war because at that moment the world seemed to have given rise to a permanent and lasting world peace. Five days later, with the horror of the September 11th attacks we learned differently. Nearly 6000 more soldiers, sailors, Marines and Airmen have since joined the ranks of the fallen. They too were honored this Memorial Day.
Washington County Veteran’s Advisor Kenneth Mueller also reminded the gathering that many others have had amputations, and other severe injuries in a time of war.
The gathering heard from Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Angela Ramsey Dickson. She is the veteran’s advisor at Prairie View A&M. She too, remembered those who gave their lives in the defense of the United State of America but we should also ‘laugh and live.’
She spoke of the many places she served, from New Mexico, Arkansas to Iceland and Germany. She said she faced other battles, including bringing up a child with autism. Dickson said those challenges while serving her country, led her to serving the needs of with mental health problems. This Sgt Dickson said was also another way to serve and sacrifice for your country. She said the ultimate sacrifice is giving of yourself.
Washington County Judge John Brieden reminded the people of the history of Memorial Day, and how it was important to keep a moment of silence to honor our heroes.
State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst also spoke saying that it was good and right to remember the fallen. She says ‘we shine as a beacon’ to the world for their service and their lives.
The wreaths were laid for those who have died in our country’s defense, and for those veterans who had died in the past year.