Millions of Americans still pause for a moment to reflect on the sacrifice of men and women who stood in the gap to secure our liberty.
Leslie and I traditionally take some time on Memorial Day to take the drive to Andersonville National Cemetery. Leslie mentioned our tradition to Jean Parker, one of the senior ladies in our church. She said that her husband’s first wife was buried at Andersonville and he had not been out there in a while. As it turned out he had not been out there since 2001.
We picked them up and headed to Andersonville. On our drive out, I learned a few things about Private Julian Parker. He was born in 1925 and immediately after graduation, he was drafted. As he recalled he was the first one to be drafted from Richmond Hill.
He went to basic training in Mississippi and then was shipped to England. He said that he was in Europe for the entire war. He was wounded twice and has two purple hearts. He said that he was in the Normandy invasion. He also recalled the horrible conditions of some of the American Prisoners of War rescued from camps at the end of the war.
WALB TV had a reporter at the cemetery who talked with Mr. Parker. Like many veterans of World War II, he did not talk much about his experience. There was one thing that Mr. Parker said that stood out to me.
He said that he had a rifle at home and loved to hunt. When he came back from the war, he said that he took the rifle out back and buried it because he had been around enough killing.
The men and women who served in our military and those who now serve do not desire war. As a nation, we should detest the thought of war.
The perfectly aligned headstones that fill the national cemeteries are a stark and sober reminder of the cost of war. They are also a reminder of the price that these paid for freedom.
Average Americans do take time to acknowledge the price paid to protect our freedom. This has been a special Memorial Day.
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