Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

Last Monday in May

By David Hotle

Who are they? They are our friends and neighbors. We see them walking down the street almost every day. They come in all shapes and sizes. The one thing they have in common is that they all put on a uniform and took an oath to defend and protect our nation, possibly even at the expense of their lives.
Of course, I am talking about our nation’s veterans. They are the ones who march into harm’s way with the goal of making certain we will remain safe. As of 1971, we citizens have the last Monday in May to show honor to the people who gave literally everything they had to keep our country safe.
For those who have never been to the Memorial Day events in Washington, American Legion Post 29 really knows how to show patriotic honor to those who fell defending our country. I usually go to the events, and would encourage all who are happy to live in a free nation to attend. Really, Memorial Day shouldn’t be just another day off.
The events start at 8 a.m. with a flag-raising at the post office on Marion Avenue. Time for a quick funny story? American Legion member Wayne Gamon regularly brings a model cannon — which, I believe, he constructed himself — to fire during the 21-gun salute. Obviously, the cannon doesn’t fire a projectile. The first year I was in Washington, I came out between two buildings and was so focused on the events, I didn’t see the cannon behind me. I think I hit the deck at the sound of the cannon going off. Seeing him fire the cannon when you are ready for it is much better. You can really see the honor he is trying to convey.
From there, we all hop in our cars and on our motorcycles and head out to Crooked Creek Bridge on Old 92 for the 8:30 a.m. Navy and Marine Tribute. There is normally a guest speaker at the event. This year it is Dale Torpey. I’ve actually known him for quite a while and I never knew he was in the service. It will be cool to hear some of his war stories.
The big event is held at 10 a.m. in Elm Grove Cemetery. Again, if you have never been out to Elm Grove on Memorial Day, you really owe it to yourself to do so. There are hundreds of flags flying. This year’s speaker will be Cheyenne (Cuddeback) Miller.
The way I look at it, the people we are honoring gave their very lives to protect the nation. Is it too much to ask to give up a few hours on the last Monday in May to show them the respect they richly deserve?