Friday morning there will be unshed tears… As a group of people gaze across the local cemeteries upon the rows and rows of flags. These flags placed by volunteers and vets mark the last resting places of our brothers and sisters who have served this great nation. It is amazing the number of vets who are here. These veterans have served in both times of war and peace. They carried the torch during their time and now it is our time.

I’ll be out there, rain or shine, because I see it as my continuing duty to them. I owe them. They served and lived through the horrors of conflict to ensure that I have a free nation to live in. They fought and in many cases, gave the ultimate sacrifice to that cause. Those freedoms have been sorely tested in the last few months. In being tested, we now need to reaffirm those freedoms. Some duties go beyond fear and restrictions.

Duties, I use that word deliberately. I see it as my duty to my brothers and sisters, to my community and my nation to be there as long as I am physically able to do so. It is our time to carry the torch and I will do my part for as long as I can. I swore an oath a long time ago to defend this nation and this is part of that oath. Many of the VFW members are, I won’t say old, but a lot of us can draw Social Security. They will be out there with me. Many of us will pay for it with a lot of aches and pains, but we will still be there.

Several years ago, I was working at the Fountain of Honor and a tourist mistakenly thought I was on court ordered community service. She asked me how long my sentence was, I told her it was for life. I don’t think she got it…

Monday morning, we start at Bramlett at 9 a.m. Wreaths will be placed, words and prayers will be spoken, taps will be played and a rifle salute will be fired. Again, there will be shed and unshed tears. By the time we finish at the Court House, we will be exhausted. Not so much from the physical activity, but from the emotional toll.

This is a time for reflection. The cost in blood that has kept us a free people. Where is our nation going and what will we leave for our children and grandchildren? Will we still live in a free nation 25 or 50 years from now? Only through constant work and diligence by all of us, can that happen. I hope that I will be seeing you at one of the services. Please take a moment and acknowledge the debts that we all owe our Veterans on this Memorial Day.

Here is the VFW schedule for Memorial Day.

9 a.m.: Bramlett, 10 a.m.: Wallowa, 11 a.m.: Lostine, noon: Enterprise, 1 p.m.: Courthouse

The American Legion will be doing services at:

10:30 a.m.: Alder Slope, 11 a.m.: Hurricane Creek, noon: Joseph Prairie Creek

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