When I think of Memorial Day I can’t help but recall an experience had several years ago when I accompanied our church youth group as a chaperone for a mission trip to Bluefield, West Virginia. One of the “jobs” assigned to my group was at an abandoned cemetery. Three years earlier a small group of men decided to reclaim and restore the cemetery. We saw pictures of the before …which was an aerial view of a mass of green vegetation, with no indication of a road much less any graves. After volunteers working just about each weekend since, the cemetery was in an amazingly different shape. Prior volunteers had hauled away tons of debris… the park had become a local dumping ground. One gentleman explained as they would clear a path to a reclaimed grave, countless times the next time they came, the newly reclaimed grave would have flowers, placed from a loved one who had not been able to get close to the site for years.
My task was to clean tombstones. I had a well used brush with a bucket of bleach and water. The tombstones I had the best success with were those placed to mark the graves of veterans. The stones were simple, straight and I think the type of marble used cleaned up better than most of the other stones. But I also wonder if they did not clean up better because I put more effort, more elbow grease into those stones. As I scrubbed I thought of the serviceman whose grave was marked. I expressed my thanks as best I could, by cleaning his stone. This remains one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had and a memory that comes to mind when we take time as a country to remember those people who have served our country so I can enjoy my freedom today. I have no way of knowing if these men lost their life while serving our country, but I know they were willing to if necessary.
Williams Turner &Mathis will be closed for Memorial Day. We hope you will have a safe and happy holiday, and take a few minutes to reflect on who this holiday was set aside to honor. God Bless America.