by Kareena Maxwell
Veterans from different times and wars abroad were honored today at a Memorial Day weekend event at the Concho Valley Community Church in Concho, Arizona. I went to meet a local named Roughsedge “Skip,” Higginson but he had to leave. The look in his eyes and the devotion to his family told me he was a special sort so I told him I would catch up to him tomorrow at the Lions Park or the parade for Memorial Day. In the meantime, I met Lesa Ward, President of the American Legion Auxiliary District 6 in Concho, whose husband was a POW MIA. In the ritualistic arena of life where we remember what we went through as a country, it’s the stories of each one that stand out. Today, the congregants and the considerate members of Concho, who could make it to the memory of wars, medals, deceased people they loved dearly and a gentle fusing of Jesus, they listened, laughed and allowed moments of gratitude and vulnerability to take them back.
Colonel Hunsacker was the voice of recall and history. “It’s a new beginning at this church as today we honor a Memorial Day Celebration for men and women who paid the price for somebody like me to stand here,” he said. The room was softly filled with men who seemed bigger than usual in clean suits and deep voices. Perfume permeated the cool, white room as the veterans who are still with us, accepted the words of wisdom and gratitude from the Colonel. I appreciated every minute of it. He reminded us that it’s the responsibility of veterans to “Keep the tradition going.” We were also told that uniforms were basically borrowed from the Romans, and Memorial Day began in 1868 by General Logan. The 31st of May was picked because there were no battles or war on that date. The important part of remembering soldiers was enhanced by informing us that, “Soldiers wear medals because they earned it, and to represent the men and women who have served.”
It was a celebration with humor, history and a lot of heart. A commune of veterans being valued for protecting the United States of America that provided safety to their homes and families back home. Some veterans come back able to continue with their lives. Others are not so fortunate. I leaned forward on the edge of my seat listening to the subtle cry of a wife as her eyes lead the story. The end of May always brings the memory forward. I will meet up with Lesa and “Skip” tomorrow. The sharing helps.