Each year in observation of Memorial Day, I clumsily search for fitting words to honor the sacrifice made by so many of our nation’s finest young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms and our way of life. Each year I fail miserably to achieve the desired result. No combination of words or phrases in any language by even the most highly acclaimed author could adequately honor those who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, “…gave the last full measure of devotion.”
As we observe this national holiday tomorrow, many in our midst fail to distinguish the difference between Memorial Day, when we honor our fallen comrades, and Veterans Day, a day to recognize the service of all who wore the military uniform of our nation. The separation between the two is a chasm of infinite width, yet when we ponder the similarities, we must acknowledge that every person who ever served gave a portion of their lives to their country. From this standpoint, I would offer that it is not inappropriate to honor all who served, yet we must not lose our focus in honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Recently I was contacted by Ms. Kaye Jordan, a Gold Star Mother who lost her 19-year-old son, Austin Staggs, in 2010 while serving in Afghanistan. She called me to encourage me to attend a tribute by the Weatherford Little League honoring members of our Armed Forces. Regrettably, I was unable to attend because of a previous commitment, but in speaking with her, I learned of her involvement with the construction of a memorial park to honor the veterans of Parker County---past, present, and future. Ms. Jordan, representing the Gold Star Mothers, along with the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, approached the City of Weatherford to construct this memorial. The Weatherford Park Board and City Council unanimously voted to approve this measure, and plans, studies, and fundraising are currently underway for this memorial to be located in Weatherford’s Soldier Spring Park. I would strongly encourage anyone wishing to make a tax deductible contribution to this worthy endeavor to contact appropriate city officials or any of the service organizations to find out additional information.