The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Memorial Day 2011

By Elaine Slater Reese

(Elaine is a freelance writer in Spring Green, WI

who grew up in Hancock County - near Bowen, IL)

My Diary Entry May 30th, 2011 - It's MEMORIAL DAY AGAIN!

I wonder how many will show up this year for the program honoring our veterans. Each year there is a smaller number in attendance.

Everyone is BUSY - a three -day weekend to spend at the cabin, gardens to be planted, projects to be completed. Ironic isn't it? We can't take an hour or less to honor those who served our country.

But how much did they give?

Each served - weeks, months, or years. Each gave - whether it was limbs, life, or the memories they will carry battling forever in their minds.

Some honor the veterans by reading their names. Yes, the list is very long. We have to remember that the band has to play somewhere else in just a short time. Someone else will probably speak much longer than their allotted time. We have to stay on schedule. But what could be a better way to honor those who have served than to at least simply acknowledge their names? Those who served had their schedules and lives changed for our freedoms.

I am old now. So many years have past since I last saw you in that uniform. You left us so proud and excited to serve America. When they sent you home, we could not even see you - we just touched a casket covered with Ole Glory. I needed to know how you were killed.

They told me I didn't need to know. Some days I can no longer remember the sound of your voice or your laughter. Other times I hear you whispering in my ear - "I love you". And there are moments when I hear you loud and clear as you say our wedding vows - " till death do us part".

A part of me died with you. But the years go on and I put a smile on my face and, with God's help, function. You would have wanted me to do that. But no one teases me. No one holds me. There is no one to share my thoughts and dreams.

The best photo I still have of you is our son. He looks exactly like you. And he is now serving on foreign soil. So, dear Soldier, I know that you are are gone, but every day you still live in my heart.