Remembering the nation’s dead


Monday is the annual observance of Memorial Day.

It is time set aside for the remembrance of the men and women who have died in the service of their country — particularly in battle or from wounds suffered in battle.

Yes, the three-day weekend gives many of us the chance to take our first extended outing of the warm season or to gather with family and friends for a cookout. For race fans, the Sunday of Memorial Day each year is the best day of the year with the running of Indianapolis 500, the World 600 at Charlotte and the Grand Prix of Monaco.

But let’s not forget the real reason that we’ve been celebrating Memorial Day since May 1968 (back then, it was called Decoration Day).

It really doesn’t matter what you call it, but the day began as a time when people especially in the south visited cemeteries to decorate the graves of those who have given their lives during the Civil War. It later grew to encompass the dead from all wars.

In Jackson County, that includes the nearly 140 people who have died in the service of their country in war times since World War I.

That list includes Chester A. Hartwell of Seymour, who was killed in action in France, during World War I; U.S. Army Pvt. Carl Robert Baker, who was killed in action June 9, 1943, in France, (he was the first Owen Township youth to be killed in action during World War II); U.S. Army Pvt. Marshall F. McKain, Spraytown, Army, who was killed in action Oct. 21, 1951, in Korea; and Marine Lance Cpl. William Manson “Bill” Daulton of Medora, who was killed Oct. 24, 1970, as a result of a hostile land mine during maneuvers in Quang Nan Province in Vietnam.

Traditionally, many cities and towns had parades on Memorial Day as a way of remembering the sacrifices of so many Americans. Most of those parades have fallen by the wayside, although many veterans groups still set aside time on Memorial Day to remember the fallen. That’s good.

Locally, Memorial Day service. are planned for 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Fairview Cemetery, 610 N. High St., Brownstown, and East County Road 600S and at Riverview Cemetery, 1603 Shields Ave., Seymour.

There won’t be one at Crothersville this year because Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1083 was placed on a 90-day suspension earlier this year by Troy King, the organization’s state adjutant/quartermaster. The suspension in late March was a result of the post violating bylaws and procedures. Let’s hope the issues can be cleared up and members of the post will be able to return to holding a Memorial Day service next year as they have in the past.

If you can’t attend one of those services, find a few minutes over this busy weekend to pause and remember those who paid the ultimate price for the freedom of us all.

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