No such thing as too late to remember

wwmt.com/news/local/civil-war-veterans-receive-headstones-after-more-than-a-century-since-burial

The link above is a story that most wont take the time to read but I’m not sure that is if any importance to the people who made sure that these veterans were remembered.

Small Town Pride

A few months ago I published pictures I had taken at various family cemeteries and deliveries I made Memorial Day. There were some photos that needed to be shared in a post by themselves. I have written about this little cemetery in Sedgwick , Kansas before. I have someone laid there to rest and every year when I go to decorate the grave I always smile when I first drive in. Hillside Cemetery in Sedgwick is a small cemetery, very well cared for, shows the pride of the community, and its very peaceful with lots of trees and history. ( blog post – May 2, 2015 )

This year when I drove into the cemetery a lump formed in my throat. Every dirt path road had a string of US flags decorating the way. These were full sized flags on poles and it was one of the most moving and breathtaking sites I have ever seen at a cemetery. I’ve posted the pictures below, but I have to say, they just don’t do the moment justice.

Flag Day….. A lost day in 365

I published this 2 years ago but I think it still is true again this year on Flag Day.

I remember flag day when I was younger as a an early start to the 4th of July. In the 1960’s many homes displayed the American flag year round and some just on certain days. I understood Memorial Day very well, the visits to the cemeteries, the family, the picnics, barbecue, and of course the end of school!!

I remember that flags would be displayed, removed , and then displayed again throughout the summer. I realize now that was due to Memorial Day, Flag Day, and then the 4th of July. I don’t remember asking an adult about the flags displayed on and off ,but then flags were a common element of every neighborhood.

The American flag holds much more meaning to me today than those of my childhood summers. When I see the American flag today I see my youngest brother who served his country in the Navy when he was just 17, I see his coffin draped with a flag when he died at 37, I see the people who have taken to the streets carrying the flag asking for equality, I see astronauts landing on the moon and placing a flag into its ground, I see the ashes of the twin towers and the Murray federal building with a flag firmly placed in the ruble.

What I don’t see is as many American flags displayed as I did as a child. Is Flag Day lost or just our pride for the flag itself?

Respect for our Military

The final resting place of those who sacrificed so much for their country is being neglected and forgotten. Retired naval captain Ralph Parrot has made it his mission to restore the respect and dignity to the oldest military cemetery on the west coast — but he can’t do it alone.

When local resident Nestor Aliga heard about Captain Parrott’s work, he started this petition to get the Veterans Administration to repossess this forgotten place in our Navy’s history. Your signature can help.

After the U.S. Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, CA closed in 1996, responsibility for maintaining the Mare Island Cemetery slipped through the bureaucratic cracks – allegedly becoming the responsibility of the City of Vallejo.

Without a plan for ongoing maintenance from the U.S. Navy or dedicated funding from the city, the cemetery fell into a state of disrepair. Currently, only a small group of volunteers devote time to doing even the most basic upkeep.

Mare Island Cemetery is no ordinary interment park. It’s the oldest military cemetery on the west coast. It’s on the National Register of Historic places. Victims of the U.S.S. Boston tragedy are buried there, as is Francis Scott Key’s daughter and numerous sailors.

But over twenty years of neglect have left the facility in a deplorable condition. Critics point to leaning, fallen headstones. Meanwhile, other headstones and markers are being propped up with stray pieces of wood. All believe our service members deserve better.

Please sign this petition calling on Veterans Affairs secretary David Shulkin to order the repossession of the Mare Island Naval Cemetery.

Sylvia Rolle

Change.org Campaigns Team

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