Today is officially Memorial Day and despite cloudy skies with off and on rain the traditional Memorial Day observance at Greenwood Cemetery today went off as planned.
The speaker this year was retired Air Force Major Carroll Michaud who is very active in veterans affairs.
His message today was one that is near and dear to his heart: Memorial Day is more than a three day weekend. It is a day to honor and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in their service to our country. He stated that it is important to observe Memorial Day on the traditional day designated rather than the Monday before. "The meaning of the day gets lost" in cookouts and shopping sales, he explained.
Parkway High School AFJROTC participated in the ceremony with their presentation of colors, a violinist who played the national anthem, and they served as escorts during the wreath presentations. There was also a flag folding ceremony.
There were many organizations present today to present wreaths; the turnout was excellent given the soggy conditions. Our good friend retired Major Ron Chatelain was there to present for the Military Order of the Purple Heart:
Steve presented for the 40 & 8:
The Sons of the Confederacy wrapped up the ceremony with a rousing gun volley...
... and then the haunting notes of Taps was played over the graves of the fallen.
Making an appearance today was also Anna Judd, the young woman who is running across America to raise awareness for veterans' issues such as PTSD and the suicide rate which she says is twenty-two per day. Anna says she runs about 33 miles per day; she started her journey in Venice Beach, California and she plans to end in New York at the Freedom Tower before her 30th birthday at the end of July. She thanked the veterans in attendance for their service and posed for some photos with the Sons of the Confederacy:
And she took a photo with Steve and Ron:
After the ceremony she stayed to help the DAV pick up flags:
The rain held off for the ceremony today and started to pick up a little as it was all ending.
Please take a note from Major Michaud's speech today and take time to honor the fallen today on this traditional Memorial Day.
(The Shreveport Times photo gallery of the event is here.)