Freedom is not Free

Freedom is not Free

Eulogy for a Veteran

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the Gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.
-Author Unknown

What better way to remember veterans than the realization that they did not die, they live on in our memories, forever. Without veterans of yesteryear America wouldn’t be what it is. No other democratic society in the world permits personal freedoms to the degree of the United States of America. Think about it…freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, etc., Veterans actually took up weapons and fought for the freedom so many of us take for granted. We have always known these freedoms therefore we haven’t a clue what it was like without them. Countless men and women in uniform died in order for us to be able to live in the country of their dreams. No celebration, parade, honor guard, or memorial can bring back those that paid the ultimate price, yet it may help show them and their families just how much their sacrifice is appreciated.

The Roxton Volunteer Fire Department and community have chosen Saturday May 26, to honor veterans. Beginning at 10 am with a parade (everyone is welcome to join with an entry), followed by keynote speaker, Al Clark II. To round out the day is a free BBQ lunch, music and special entertainment.

Keynote speaker, Al Clark II trained recruits in NTC San Diego, CA, he was transferred and attached to fighter squadron VF211 (the 1st ACE squadron since the Korean War). He was then deployed on the USS Hancock CVA19 to Viet Nam. He finished his deployment to Viet Nam in June 1970 and discharged Al completed his military service and returned to Emory in July 1970, joining his father in the family insurance business, while attending ETSU (now A&M Commerce) majoring in Business. Al and Mary Louise Blankenship married Sept 13, 1979, and entered the ministry in 1980. They pioneered a church in Hawkins TX , evangelized across the country, served as Pastor and Associate Pastor in various churches and currently serves as Associate Pastor of the Ben Franklin Church. They have two daughters, Mary and Patricia. Rev. Clark has also owned and operated a remodeling business for over 27 years.

No tribute to vets would be complete without the melody of TAPS in the background. The words to “Taps” originated when a Union Army Captain heard a wounded soldier during the night in 1862 after a long battle. He didn’t know if the soldier was Union or Confederate, yet he went in search of the moans. When he found the soldier he was in fact a Confederate. Not any Confederate, but the Captain’s own son. The Captain brought his son back to camp, yet he died shortly after. The Army band could not play for the funeral because he was an ‘enemy’ but out of respect for the father he was allowed one bugler, who played the French bugle signal “tattoo,” as the son was buried. The following words were in his son’s pocket:

Day is done, gone the sun, from the hills, from the plains, from the sky, all is well, safely rest—GOD is nigh! Fading light, dims the sight, and a star, gems the sky, gleaming bright, from afar, drawing nigh, falls the night. Thanks and praise, for our days, neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky, as we go, this we know—GOD is nigh!

This and many other valiant stories of what our forefathers believed in is what America is founded on. We owe our vets much more than one day a year, but with this one-day we can show our appreciation in a special way. Come out, shake the hands of those you owe a debt, and say thanks!

Oct 2018
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