Last Monday was Memorial Day. And the weather was perfect for having a cook out and having friends over. And we did do that. We had good friends in. We had hamburgers and brats. We played games and laughed and talked and knocked our heads together.
I also remembered Memorial Days when I lived in the Arlington, Ohio area. I was a reservist in the Air Force then. A Chaplain to be exact. Almost every year for the 14 years I lived there and one year after I moved to Stoutsville, I spent Memorial Day not eating hamburgers and brats but honoring our Service Men. I was friends with several retired Army men who were members of the local VFW group.
Every year on Memorial Day we would meet at 5:30 in the morning at Terry’s Drive-In. We would have breakfast together, then we would load up three or four cars of VFW people, myself, and a senior trumpeter from Arlington High School. Then we would visit all the southern Hancock County cemeteries. The VFW men visited them the day before and placed flags on all the veteran’s graves. Then we would come on Memorial Day. I would say a prayer, we would have a 21-gun salute, and the senior would play Taps. There were seven cemeteries that we visited. We ten returned to Terry’s for a cup of coffee and wait until a quarter to Ten.
At 10:00am we went to the main cemetery in Arlington. There we were joined by the Boy Scout Troop, the Gold-Star Mothers, and the marching band. We marched through the cemetery to the flag pole. The Boy Scouts raised the flag to full mast and then lowered it to half mast. The Gold-Star Mothers laid a wreath. There were other events including the band playing, a guest speaker (often myself), and always ending with Taps. Many of the townspeople were there as well.
Sidebar: One of my childhood memories includes the fact that every Memorial Day my father took my mother and all us kids to the Springfield Township Cemetery near Toledo, Ohio. That is where my Grandfather and Grandmother and Mom’s three sisters are all buried. We would plant flowers and us kids would look at the old gravestones. It seemed a good way to spend Memorial Day morning.
Continuing. After the services at the cemetery, all the participants: the Boy Scouts, Gold-Star Mothers, and VFW people all went to the undertakers home for a luncheon.
Thank you all for the warm memories. Thanks to all the service people. Of all the things I did as an Air Force Chaplain this is a very special memory.