Archive for May, 2016

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday today and I truly hope that everyone took a few moments to remember what the holiday is all about.

I live in Rockingham County, NC. We have a Veteran’s Memorial Park in Wentworth, the county seat. Every year they have a ceremony there on Memorial Day and another one on Veterans’ Day. I appreciate the fact that we do this and I try to go to these ceremonies every year. I haven’t been to all of them, but I have not missed a Memorial Day service in several years.

The ceremony on Memorial Day is probably very similar to ones all across the country, there will be some speeches, some prayers, some patriotic songs and the reading of the names of all the veterans who have passed away since the last ceremony the previous year. After the names are read, there is the salute and then taps is played. It is a simple ceremony, but very moving.

The list of names seems to be getting longer each year. This year’s program had three pages, nearly 200 names, which seems, to me anyway, to be a lot to have passed away in one year for a fairly rural NC county.

The greatest generation, as the WWII veterans are called, are leaving us at an ever-accelerating rate as these veterans get older and older, but these are not the only names. There are increasing numbers of Korean, Viet Nam, and, now, Iraq and Afghanistan veteran’s names showing up on the list.

I am a bit upset this year, though, and have decided to vent about it here. Why am I upset? Well a very good friend of mine, no he was more than a very good friend, he was more of a brother, passed away last August. Now this man was not only a veteran, he was a veteran twice. He was a sole surviving son; his brother was killed in Viet Nam (in fact the ceremony was yesterday, 29 May, which was also the anniversary of his brother’s death). In spite of this, he went into the Army. After a few terms, yes I said “a few” terms of enlistment he came back to civilian life because our veteran loving federal government decided to do away with the GI Bill and he figured to use it rather than loose it. He was not finished, however. This brave patriot went back into the Army after the age of 55 and went to Iraq.

As I said earlier, I try not to miss the Memorial Day ceremony, and this year I was expecting to hear my brother’s name when they read this list of veterans who had passed. He had a nickname by which he was known to most people, and I thought I would do what ever I could to make sure that when his name was read, the nickname would be, too. I talked with some people to try to find out how to make sure that his name would be read correctly. I talked with the sheriff, who usually is one of the dignitaries who actually read the names. He told me that the group who put the ceremony together get the names from the funeral homes that do the funeral services. I then called the funeral home, and explained what I was trying to do. I was told it would be handled. So, Imagine my surprise when, not only was his nickname not used, his name was not on the list at all. After the ceremony, I talked with one of the presenters and was told again, that the names come from the funeral homes that had handled the funeral services. So, thanks a lot, FAIR’S funeral home, in Eden, NC, for totally dropping the ball. It would have been bad enough just to forget about a veteran, but I called and asked about this one and still he was forgotten. Well he wasn’t forgotten by those of us who knew him. Rest in peace, Buddy, and thank you for your service.