The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

They Sacrificed All

db Conard - Quill Reporter/Photographer

Monday morning did not come with the hoped for sunshine that would have made a Memorial Day Service in the La Harpe City Park a picture perfect event. Rain canceled the outside plans

But perhaps even better, was the gathering in the gymnasium at the school. To this veteran it was a powerful day.

I have a unique privilege as a member of the press to look at things, and people through the long lens of a camera, and then to try and share that experience with the readers of the Quill.

The military has been my family profession for generations, so I can't help but be affected by anything that has to do with it.

Monday's service in the gym said so clearly to me, what it was all about, all the effort, discomfort and sacrifice, was bought and paid for by the genuine gratitude that was not only evident on the faces of the audience, but also so obvious as a community effort.

During the ceremony all the vets were asked to stand and as they did I know that they found that special bond with those who stood with them. They were unified by the military experience, something that could only be understood among those who had done it.

The Memorial Service takes on a particular importance, especially when you consider that the memorial is also a time to remember the shared experiences that touched so many of the lives that are now being memorialized.

Two Gold Star Mothers from one community, two children gone, two soldiers paying the real price in today's wars. Then there are the Blue Star mothers, praying to never be the Gold, yet so very proud when they say their children's names and what they do.

Mayor Ken Brown, had a touching story on how just one effort to say thank you to a group of soldiers in route for deployment to Iraq motivated others to do the same.

He had noticed on the flight, that when offered a five dollar sack meal by the attendant, none of the ten soldiers took a meal.

So, quietly Brown, a veteran, went to the back of the plane and paid for them all.

Others on the plane noticed his generosity and came to offer to share in his expense.

Together, all were finding a sense of service, and a chance to do and say something for a soldier who was willing to go to war for each of us.

Dan Gillett brought home the untold stories of hardship by families of local soldiers who went to war. He related it to the many military families who sacrificed and were missing milestones in their own families lives, and then the greatest sacrifice of all, the loss of a parent in the service of his country.

Songs were sung by sweet voices, prayers were said, the band played, and all done well.

Then, old soldiers who knew the cost of service well, retired the colors, fired the salute, and finished with taps.

It was the whole picture of true patriotism that I saw through my lens that was made up of all the ingredients that makes our nation as great as it is. It was the picture of a Memorial Service that brought honor, to the greatest of sacrifices.

Thank you for those who remembered.