Mineral Wells Index
By LARRY M. JONES
Each year in observation of Memorial Day, I clumsily search for fitting words to honor the sacrifice made by so many of our nation’s finest young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms and our way of life.
Each year I fail miserably to achieve the desired result.
No combination of words or phrases in any language by even the most highly acclaimed author could adequately honor those who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, “… gave the last full measure of devotion.”
As we observe this national holiday tomorrow, many in our midst fail to distinguish the difference between Memorial Day, when we honor our fallen comrades, and Veterans Day, a day to recognize the service of all who wore the military uniform of our nation. The separation between the two is a chasm of infinite width, yet when we ponder the similarities, we must acknowledge that every person who ever served gave a portion of their lives to their country. From this standpoint, I would offer that it is not inappropriate to honor all who served, yet we must not lose our focus in honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Recently I was contacted by Ms. Kaye Jordan, a Gold Star Mother who lost her 19-year-old son, Austin Staggs, in 2010 while serving in Afghanistan. She called to encourage me to attend a tribute by the Weatherford Little League honoring members of our Armed Forces. Regrettably, I was unable to attend because of a previous commitment, but in speaking with her, I learned of her involvement with the construction of a memorial park to honor the veterans of Parker County – past, present and future.
Ms. Jordan, representing the Gold Star Mothers, along with the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, approached the City of Weatherford to construct this memorial. The Weatherford parks board and city council unanimously voted to approve this measure, and plans, studies and fundraising are currently underway for this memorial to be located in Weatherford’s Soldier Spring Park. I would strongly encourage anyone wishing to make a tax-deductible contribution to this worthy endeavor to contact appropriate city officials or any of the service organizations to find out additional information.
In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Concord Hymn” he wrote: “Here once the embattled farmers stood, and fired the shot heard round the world.” From that era in 1775 until the present, almost 850,000 of America’s bravest and most noble young men and women have lost their lives in combat defending our liberties and national sovereignty. In addition, the lives almost another half million service personnel have been lost from disease and accidental death while serving our country. We have incurred a terrible toll on our nation’s young service members, and along the way, further incurred a debt of gratitude far beyond our ability to ever repay.
As we observe Memorial Day 2014, we would be remiss if we failed to honor all of our veterans who have sacrificed, but especially we should honor our fallen comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice. All gave some, but some gave all. Tomorrow is the time set aside each year to honor those who gave all their tomorrows so we who remain may enjoy ours.
Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.