Every year when this day comes around I get alittle misty eyed. I confess I get alittle irritated by the focus on picnics, barbques, and parties. That’s not at all what this day is about. It’s about our fallen military folks.
I marked this year’s Memorial Day much like the original celebrants marked the day. By decorating and memorializing a fallen Civil War soldier. To make this day even sweeter, this particular soldier was surrounded by his living descendants who proudly served in his burial detail.
Corporal James B. Dooley served honorably in the 4th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, US. He joined Company G of said regiment in Mt. Vernon Kentucky following a local community leader, Richard Myers, who was elected Captain of the company. Corporal Dooley ultimately found himself at Andersonville Prison where, after his release, he began the long walk home back to Kentucky.
I was honored to participate in this memorial in ways that I can’t quite describe. This is the third such memorial I’ve taken part in and everytime I leave with more respect for these soldiers. While we were waiting for the ceremony to begin, one of the lads in the burial detail came to me and asked if he could sit out. I guess I should say I was “commander” of the burial detail. He said he wasn’t feeling well. I’m almost certain that this kid wasn’t at all ill but perhaps alittle bored. I looked back at the grave site and pondered how many times THAT young man had been bored and wanted to go home. Perhaps at Lebanon Kentucky in 1862 where the 4th had just settled into their garrison. Perhaps in the rain at Mill Springs wondering if the Confederates were ever gonna come over that hill. Definately at Andersonville Prison where he ultimately caught TB which after two years claimed his life. I thought, “You fellas were made of much sterner stuff than we.”.
Today, as I recovered from a freak allergy attack, I watched the history channel as they played show after show about the soldiers we remember today. The Marines at Guadal Canal. The men on the Oklahoma, Arizona, West Virginia, and other ships attacked and sunk at Pearl Harbor. The Seals and Rangers at Robert’s Ridge in Afghanistan. My friends in Camp Fallujah in Iraq. It’s silly and I laughed at myself often as tears of pride rolled down.
Thank A Vet. Praise a Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, or Marine. Pay for their lunch. Mow the lawn of a wife who’s husband is serving YOU. Appreciate them.