White Sulphur Springs resides peacefully in a valley of the Rocky Mountains. It is a small town where people know their neighbors and where folks are proud of their heritage. They are proud of their citizens who have served in the military branches and display that pride on Memorial Day. Like the town, the VFW branch is small but they never fail to march the colors down main street on Memorial Day and present a full ceremony at the cemetery. Prior to Memorial Day, VFW members and other volunteers place a flag for each deceased veteran along the driveway and around the perimeter of the cemetery. When a stiff breeze blows (as it often does) all of those flags salute the memory of the veterans and the sight will stir your soul.
Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember and honor those who have served and gone on before us but my memories always take me far beyond those heroes to the everyday heroes of my life. They take me to a father and mother who struggled through the great depression and through sickness and heartache, constantly striving to provide for me and give me the best that they were able to give. To guide me and prepare me for the unknowns that lay ahead in my life. Today I remember the things that they tried to tell me that I didn’t understand or appreciate at the time. Memories come to me of a Grandmother who was always kind, patient and understanding. In my mind, I can see aunts and uncles who were my friends and who were always ready to lend me a hand if I needed help. I remember childhood friends and schoolmates who no longer walk in this valley but were a source of companionship and pleasure when they were here. Each and every one of those people gave me something. A word of advice that would be priceless someday, a moment of kindness when I needed it most, a helping hand without me asking or a pat on the back when my back was bent. For many of them, there will be no flag flying but my hat will be off to them.
What does Memorial Day mean to you?