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Remarks of Fred Troutman at VFW Memorial Day 2012 Service

Sunday, May 27, 2012
At VFW Post Hall, 411 Fairground Street, Columbia, KY

It is truly an honor for me to be here this afternoon and to take part in this annual memorial service at VFW Post 6O97.

Hopefully I can measure up to the many fine words I have heard spoken at past memorial services.

The most meaningful message that we have heard over the years, and the one we should be mindful of the message of service...honor and sacrifice reflected by the names on the monument around which we will lay wreaths a little later.

As we remember those who died, we also remember those who lived to return from military service to provide vital leadership and service in the growth and betterment of our community.

May our presence here this afternoon, and the words we speak, pay tribute and honor to all who over the years have served.

Memorial Day

My first memory of Memorial Day is when it was called Decoration Day. Many times it was only referred to as the 30th of May.

It was always observed on May 30th regardless of the day of week on which it fell.

What began with the placing of flowers on the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers, came to include the placing of flowers on the graves of non-military family members as well.

Today, of course, Memorial Day is observed as a long holiday weekend.

It wasn't until after World War II that many local communities began to hold memorial services like we are doing today.

VFW Magazine

The June-July issue of the VFW Magazine has a wonderful article by National Commander Noyer entitled patriotism means remembering.

In his article, Commander Noyer says, and I quote, "Special days in June and July are are set aside to honor events and symbols of national importance. Understanding their meaning is essential to the country's well-being."

To this powerful statement I would add the following statement:

without understanding, meaning is lost or becomes insignificant to the one seeing or hearing the message
Being without understanding at the moment, does not lessen our responsibility to seek the true meaning of the message before us. Whether it be printed words, the flag , monuments or a day set aside for remembrance.
The Monument Outside

To many of us here today, and some families who could not be present, the monument at the entrance to the fairgrounds, is personal.

To others, it is a fixture in that has stood in our community for more than a half century.

A historian might view it as nothing more than a part of history.

To those of us here today, once our feelings of sorrow pass as we look upon its form, we see it as a part of the record of this nation's struggles for freedom.

Freedom not just for a few , but for all who pass this way.
Without freedom,

There can be no justice

Without mercy, justice is hollow

When we think of mercy and justice, we can find strength and guidance in the words spoken long ago by the prophet Micah:

"He has shown you, oh man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

In a little while, we will move outside to place wreaths at the base of the monument.

After the rifle salute is fired, and taps sounded, we will depart to go our separate ways.

We know not what tomorrow will bring along the paths we tread, nor the battles our men and women in uniform must fight.

but having been with time together, we can leave with the peace that comes with knowing that together this day,


- Fred Troutman

This story was posted on 2012-05-29 14:53:36
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