Tomorrow is going to be a busy day, so I am putting this up this evening while I have the time available. We go to the local Veterans Cemetery with the grandkids (ages 13 and 11) at 6:00am tomorrow, to join fellow volunteers and Patriot Guard Rider members in flagging the graves of every servicemember interred there. (Freedom is never free - its ultimate cost is witnessed by tomorrow's moment to reflect). It is a learning experience for the grandkids. Serving one's fellow citizens is an honor, but it bears a price, far too often that debt is collected, on behalf of the people within this grateful Nation.
From there, we go to the waterfront in town, where the flag at City Hall is removed from half-mast at noon, and the bell of remembrance is struck 134 times, for the 134 local veterans who paid that price since the town was incorporated in 1901, after a Main Street parade. Then a speech from the oldest living veteran in the city, and the Commanding Officer of the Strategic Airlift Command squadron at Travis AFB. The PGR forms a ceremonial flagline and escort for our Gold Star families, as they re-mount the flag at City Hall and it is raised to its full height and splendor of our Nation.
For our part - we remember and honor our family and friends who have paid the price for America, have reached their end of watch, and have been properly relieved of duty:
Capt. J. Fontaine, USMC (dec.) VMFA-312 - K.I.A. Dec 1985
GySgt E. Hards, USMC (dec) H&HQ Co, 1/5, Chosin - R.I.P. Feb 1991
BM2 C. Halfin, USN (dec.), Mount 4, USS Montpelier - R.I.P. Aug 1988
Cpl. W. Banducci, USMC (dec.) "F" Co, 2/5, Chosin - R.I.P. Jul 2004
Cpl. C. Halfin, USMC (dec.) US Embassy, Saigon - R.I.P. Jul 2013
Cpl. A. Kinser, USA (dec.) 82nd ABN, Afghanistan - R.I.P. Oct 2004
L/Cpl J. Mosier, USMC (dec.) 15th MEU- ACE, Persian Gulf - K.I.A. Jul 1994
Pfc W. MacKaskill, USMC (dec) "H" Co, 3/28, Iwo Jima - R.I.P. May 2002
Pfc E. J. Halfin, USMC (dec) "B" Co, 1/1, Okinawa - K.I.A. Jun 1945
Pvt C. Halfin, USMC (dec.) "G" Co. 3/1 Okinawa - R.I.P. Apr 1982
"...And when they get to Heaven
St Peter they will tell...
'One More Reporting for Duty, Sir;
We served our time in Hell' ..."