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Memorial Day 2008

By Joe Starkey



Babies in strollers, elderly men and women in walkers and wheelchairs, men in uniforms from 30 to 65 years old and many more citizens of Abilene came to Elmwood Cemetery to honor those who fell in defense of our freedom and remember those that served and didn’t come home. Some stood, some brought their own comfortable chairs and many simply enjoyed the hospitality of Elmwood Memorial Park for chairs, drinks and donuts.Girl Scout troop 7092 was {{more}} present to hand out programs and assist people to their chairs. Boy Scouts handled the donut and drinks table. Employees of the Elmwood Cemetery gave help where ever needed. The weather cooperated with a very pleasant day with georgious clouds, lots of blue skies and a gentle breeze. Mr. Jimmy Defoor gave the opening remarks with a short history of Memorial Day and announced the Presentation of Colors by the US Marine Corps. Ms. Samantha Barker led the crowd in the National Anthem with most of those present joining in. After the Pledge of Allegiance led by Mr. Joe Thompson, the guest speaker, the Honorable George Newman, Taylor County Judge was introduced.May 30, 1871 a small ceremony was held in Waterloo, NY to commemorate the Civil War and honor those who fell. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared Memorial Day as honoring all Americans who died in all of America’s wars. In 1971, the 3rd Monday in May was declared a National Holiday. The Honorable George Newman’s father went to war in 1943 serving in the Navy. His ship was attacked by Kamikaze pilots but the ship and his father survived to come home from WWII. He remarked that some will make the final sacrifice today and tomorrow so that Americans can continue to have our freedoms. He then asked “Is it asking too much for more than 20% of the registered voters to come out for the elections. He finished by reading the following poem: FREEDOM IS NOT FREEI watched the flag pass by one day,It fluttered in the breeze;A young Marine saluted it,And then he stood at ease.I looked at him in uniform,So young, so tall, so proud;With hair cut square and eyes alert,He’d stand out in any crowd.I thought… how many men like himHad fallen through the years?How many died on foreign soil?How many mothers’ tears?How many pilots’ planes shot downHow many died at seaHow many foxholes were soldiers’ gravesNo, Freedom is not Free.I heard the sound of Taps one night,When everything was still;I listened to the bugler play,And felt a sudden chill;I wondered just how many timesThat Taps had meant “Amen”When a flag had draped a coffinOf a brother or a friend;I thought of all the children,Of the mothers and the wives,Of fathers, sons and husbands.With interrupted lives.I thought about a graveyardAt the bottom of the sea,Of unmarked graves in Arlington.No. Freedom is not Free!©Copyright 1981 by Kelly StrongHe concluded with “May God Bless America.”One of the persons specially recognized was PFC James E. Able who made the combat jump into Normandy. Wreaths were laid by the Women’s Auxillary and the colors retired concluding the ceremony.

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