The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Honoring The Ultimate Sacrifice

by Mitch Worley, Hancock County Quill

May 28, 2008

Usually, my columns would be full of humor and silliness in an attempt to brighten the days of Quill readers, but I simply cannot do it this week.

With such a sacred event coming to pass as Memorial Day did this week, it would be inappropriate to call attention to my idiocy and not the sacrifices young men and women have been making for almost 250 years now, starting with the Revolutionary War, continuing all the way to the current conflict in the Middle East and abroad.

The ceremony held at the La Harpe Community Park Monday morning was nothing from the ordinary with all of the speeches, presentations of flags, twenty-one gun salute, and taps being played to conclude the event, but something struck me as I sat in the pavilion with my seven year old brother and eighty-one year old great grandfather, who was a Navy veteran from World War II.

I think it started Sunday when I heard a magnificent sermon Bill Bennett, a Marine veteran, gave at the La Harpe Methodist Church. There was such conviction brought about in his words that stirred my soul and made me re-evaluate my view of Memorial Day, opening my eyes to what it was truly about.

To most, Memorial Day is considered a holiday. It's a day some get to take off from work, or get double-time if you do have to work and really isn't given the reverence that should accompany such a momentous day of the year.

For the past twenty years of my life, I've fallen victim to celebrating Memorial Day as a "holiday" and not worrying about those that have served and given their all for my freedom, or those currently serving and putting their life on the line for the same purpose.

When I saw the strongest collection of men in the community with tears in their eyes, quivering lips, weak knees, it took me with them to the battlefield.

I saw the horrific sights, heard the final cries and pleas of those dying in combat, and the monumental destruction that had taken place to once beautiful landscapes in parts of the world that would be otherwise uninhabited and peaceful, were it not for war.

My view has been completely transfigured about the appropriate mind-set to have on Memorial Day.

It's a moment in time whereas political turmoil is to be set aside and is rendered meaningless, and everyone can agree that we live in the greatest nation created by our maker.

It's also a time to cherish all that you have and pay your respects to those that had and continue to have the courage and honor to put the burdens of our nation on their shoulders, and fight to allow everyone within the states the freedom to live as prescribed in our Constitution by our forefathers.