Memorial Day Observance

Memorial Day is an observance that began when America was torn apart.   But now the holiday unites a nation.   Memorial Day was first observed in 1868 to honor fallen Confederate soldiers.  The South held a similar observance a month later. The two regions never joined in until after World War I when the day was changed to honor people who died in any war.

Many years later and many wars later Americans still take time to honor fallen service men and women. In Nacogdoches Veterans of Foreign Wars never fail to organize a service. This year they decorated the front lawn of the law enforcement center. They're waiting for the completion of a Veteran's memorial park now under construction at the Nacogdoches County courthouse.

A small group, mostly veterans gathered at the law enforcement center's flag pole. Memorial Day ceremonies don't attract the huge crowds like you see at July 4th events, but the ones who organize and attend the events understand the sacrifice service personnel have made. Vietnam Veteran George Duckard said, "It's a special day to me because it recognizes the veterans who made a sacrifice for the country. It's an honor to come and and gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country." Civilian R. T. Emerson Jr explained, "I'm more than thankful for what they gave me. They give me all my freedom. Everything I want I owe to them. And I try to come out to every project they have to honor them. I can't thank them enough." Korean veteran Bud Nettles doesn't let politics get in the way of the honor. "I don't agree to what all is going on, but we just honor the veterans. I'm proud for what they're doing and feel bad for the ones who have lost their lives."

Sitting in the front row is World War II veteran Berdine Adams.   The man with the odd name that he said caused him grief as a young World War II soldier is today proudly held by three grandsons. Adams was a prisoner of war for more than three years. Adams said, "Well, I'm still proud to be around people who still remember. And we all think it happened for a good reason. We think the Lord led us for what we had done." Adams is 86. He got quite a laugh when he mistakenly said he was 76 and quickly got corrected by his wife, Louise. Adams said, "It's nice to have a sense of humor about such things, but at my age I don't have the sense."  The two will celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary on June 7th.