Monday, May 28, 2012

Celebrating Memorial Day in the Heartland of America

***Breaking News***

I'm in the Town Square in Williamsburg, Iowa right now interviewing WWII survivors, wives and family members.  Today's story will be published soon.  There are some amazing photos.  Come back soon for today's blog.  Thanks for your patience.  I don't like to miss deadlines but today's story is worth waiting for.  Happy Memorial Day!


My First Memorial Day in the Heartland of America

It takes your breath away--watching two hundred pristine American flags flapping in the wind as service men dating all the way back to World War II offer a 21-gun salute to all gathered in the town square, remembering those who gave their lives to make this day possible.

Command Sergeant Major Tim Saylor with wife, Kathy.
Command Sergeant Major Tim Saylor, who served two combat tours in Iraq and is currently the 185th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion Command Sergeant Major, offered these words to families gathered to honor died for us:

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.  It is more than just the beginning of summer; it is a time to honor those who have died in service to our nation.

Recognition of military service is common throughout the world, and honoring sacrifice for one's country is not unique to America.

However, Memorial Day is a holiday that is uniquely American.

President Abraham Lincoln may have set the conditions for the creation of Memorial Day by his brief but moving tribute while dedicating the battlefield cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania during the American Civil War.

As part of his remarks at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, Lincoln timelessly said, "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here."

After Tim spoke, I photographed the men who served our country while they offered a 21-gun salute.  The senior member of the group served in World War II.  He spoke proudly about how he worked on the props and kept the planes flying.

Two other men who served in World War II shared stories, one of them a paratrooper.  These men are the heartland of America.  They are husbands, fathers, grandfathers.  They are brothers.  They are heroes.  My interview time was cut short due to a medical emergency; the paramedics were called in to help out one of these men, the last of a generation who fought for us.

I promise to resume my interview with these men.  It's important to recognize the Ladies Auxiliary VFW.  Some served in active duty; others raised families while husbands served.  And everyone of them continue to help others who lost family members due to war.  Look for future stories about these special people.

Here are some photos from today:

World War II survivors, George Stahl and Joe Shanahan, entering Williamsburg Town Square to celebrate Memorial Day.
Two of the three World War II survivors who live in Williamsburg. At left is George Stahl, born on the 4th of July.  At right is Joe Shanahan.
Ladies Auxiliary VFW
Ladies from the Auxiliary VFW welcome visitors to Open House.
Williamsburg High School Choir entertains the crowd.
Williamsburg Town Square on Memorial Day.
Preparing for the 21-gun salute.
A tribute to all who gave their lives for our freedom.

Remembering the thousands who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

 Please take a moment today to pray for all the families who lost their loved ones fighting to defend our freedom.  One day is not enough.  Make it count.  Happy Memorial Day.

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