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Honoring the fallen and the cost of freedom

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MABANK–The Sarah Maples Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution gathered with Veterans and community members to honor the Veteran who died in service to their country at their annually sponsored Memorial Day Service May 27 at the Veterans Gardens at the Lake.
Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.
On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.
Susan Martz-Cothran reminded the gathering that Memorial Day is a somber holiday, “Memorial Day, however, is not a “happy day.”  To veterans, Memorial Day is not a happy day because it honors the commrades. To Gold Star Families it is not a happy day, as their loved ones died. It is a sad and solemn day to pay respect and honor  those who have kept our country free and made the ultimate sacrifice.  It is offensive to military when someone says, “Happy Memorial Day.”
Martz-Cothran gave some sobering statistics as she shared that in the last 100 years: WWI  deaths numbered 116,708,   WWII 407,316, the Korean War 36,914,Vietnam 58,151 (3,499 from Texas), Desert Storm 269, War on Terror 6,000 plus and counting. Since 9/11 over 2.7 million American Military were deployed for the War on Terror. She added, “Yes, Memorial Day honors those who have died in-service to our great nation. Only one-half percent of Americans today serve in our military.  Veterans will tell you Every day is Memorial Day as we still defend our freedoms and honor those who died for it, by serving for those who died to keep us free.”
Sandy Carroll, a gifted poet and Vietnam Veteran was 21-years-old when she returned from service to a country who dishonored those veterans, calling them names and even spitting on them. They asked her, she said, “’How could you go there and serve?’ Because of that,” she answered pointing to the flag.
Carroll shared two of her original works, honoring Veterans. One called “Today” spoke of a soldier who died on the battlefield as other soldiers took his body away, “his weight, the price of freedom, is why we’re here today.” The other poem she shared, called “The Remains” spoke of a soldier buried in foreign soil, finally located and returned home to be buried in his homeland.
“The people here are paying respects and that’s the only thing that holds this country together, RESPECT,” Carroll said.
Wreaths made by Marti Tanner and Regent Suzanne Fife, honoring the soldiers, were placed on the flagpole. Trey McKinley played “Taps” at the conclusion of the service.


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