Vol. IV No. 11 6/1/2023
Holding on To Memorial Day
by Bruce Bair
Our living veterans are growing older, and fewer. From this small town many have served, but our demographics have changed, and the numbers dwindle.
Memorial Day is especially set aside to honor the significance of their service, and of those who served and now rest in our cemeteries. We honor their courage and commitment, their sense of duty, the legacy of their experiences. Whether they served in war or at the ready, we owe them much.
Children of WW2 vets, children now in their 70s, are making a commitment to preserve the history, the stories, photos, documents. The same for later generations of vets and descendants. We all must continue to honor the memories and celebrate them. Young and old must make a commitment to embrace and pass on the traditions, the history. We have many flags in our cemeteries, no shortage of vets in our lives from every era.
For our Vietnam era vets, know that we remember you and honor you and your service in difficult times. The modern fight for freedom has taken place across many lands from Korea to Afghanistan. For all of those still with us from every era, we acknowledge our debt of gratitude. Bless you all...
To a friend, Ben Ferencz, who put himself through law school, then fought across France and Germany as artillery sergeant, helped to liberate the Nazi death camps, and became the last living prosecutor from the Nuremburg war crimes trials, a special thanks. Ben passed away last month, age 103.
Finally, some words from Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of Maine. Chamberlain embodies the profound spiritual experience of remembrance. A Civil War vet, Medal of Honor winner, college president, champion of veterans, Chamberlain held dear the meaning of Memorial Day when he said:
"In great deeds something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear, but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls. And reverent men and women from afar, and generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field to ponder and dream; And lo! the shadow of a mighty presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the power of the vision pass into their souls."
MMRHS Band. Photo: Joan Gallos