The Daniel Chapman Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution hosted the annual Memorial Day Service Monday, May 26, at the Vienna Library.
The service was well attended by veterans, family members and friends.
Memorial Day Service event co-chair Margaret Mathis served as mistress of ceremony. Co-chair Jeanne McKenzie placed the Memorial Day wreath at the foot of Johnson County Honor Roll monument.
Vienna Boy Scout Troop 41 presented the flags.
Patriotic music was provided by Judy Miller, Mason Montgomery and Duane McGinnis.
Beggs-Gurley VFW Post #5222 honor guard presented a 21-gun salute and Taps.
Prayers were led by Richard Swiney, Faith Horvest Assembly of God, and Bill Littrell, Countryside Christian Church.
Keynote speaker for the service was Richard Brumley of Vienna.
Brumely served in the U.S. Army from 1966-1968.
In Vietnam he served as a Combat Infantryman with the first Cavalry Division for eight months and as a helicopter door gunner (Aero Scout) for four months.
While in Vietnam he was awarded the National Defense Service medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Stars, Combat Infantryman Badge, Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Presidential Unit Citation and the Vietnam Cross if Gallantry with Palm Device. He was a participant in the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. Richard was discharge in 1968 with the rank of sergeant.
He is a two time past post commander of VFW Post No. 5222 in Vienna and two time past district Commander of the VFW District 15.
The following is a portion of his speech:
On Memorial Day, we commemorate and celebrate with humble reverence, the memory of absent comrades, all of whom epitomize and give true meaning to the words, “Valor, Sacrifice, Loyalty and Perseverance.” Yet, while we revere and cherish the memory of those who have come before, we are reminded to do everything within our power to support our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coastguardsmen.
Equal tribute needs to be given to all who are serving courageously around the world, during one of the most challenging periods in American history. At the same time, we pause to honor all generations of brave American service-people who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.
Each year, in towns, cities and villages across our great land, thankful citizens set aside a small portion of this day to publicly honor the best and noblest of us all, those who no longer walk among us. Memorial Day is a day of conflicting emotions for each of us; a blend of pride and mournfulness, gratitude and loss, and a deep abiding sense of patriotism.
On May 30, 1870, Maj. Gen. John A. Logan said: “Let us then all unite in the solemn feelings of the hour, and tender with our flowers the warmest sympathies of our souls! Let us revive our patriotism and strengthen our loyalty by the example of the noble dead around us.” As we measure the countless examples of ‘the Noble Dead’ and weigh the selfless devotion of our fallen and what they have given, we are obligated to look hard at who we are and aspire to become the best we can be. Today, we share a common sorrow, but we also are united in our thanks to those who gave their last measure of devotion to a cause much greater than themselves.
I am reminded of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, an American college professor who said “Those who will, may raise monuments of marble to perpetuate the fame of heroes. Those who will may build memorial halls to remind those who shall gather there in after times what manhood could do and dare for right, and what high examples of virtue and valor have gone before them. But let us make our offering to the ever-loving soul. Let us build our benefactions in the ever-growing heart, that they shall live and rise and spread in blessing beyond out sight, beyond the ken of man and beyond the touch of time.”
Regretfully, the sacrifices of our comrades are sometimes forgotten or disregarded, especially by those who have gained the most from it. History has proven that, if not for those we honor today, a heavy fist of tyranny and terror would still shackle and strangle many countries that are enjoying relatively recent freedom and democracy.
I think that it would be a good idea for those who take so much for granted to consider what alternatives would be available to them, if not for the selfless sacrifice of so many of our comrades.
That is why we must always be mindful to guard against revisionists’ efforts to re-write the history of freedom’s struggles. We must be ever-vigilant to guard against political correctness and expediency serving the parochial interests of those who would seek to ultimately diminish and lessen the heroism and the brave deeds of patriots of the past, as well as a new generation of patriots who have been put to the test in the war against terrorism. As we speak of the present and the distant past it is up to us to make sure the legacy of our nation’s fallen is passed on from this generation to the next and then on to all generations beyond. We must ensure that the youth of tomorrow have an awareness and understanding of whom it is they should likewise honor, and exactly why they should honor them! As we maintain the memory and the deeds of our fallen throughout the coming years, we need to remember to care for those who returned from their service and their wars as well. Serving with equal dedication and valor, they deserve, and are entitled to, receive adequate and proper medical care and compensation for their wounds, injuries or illness connected to their military service. After the support, the troop rallies, after the welcome homes parades, and long after the flag-waving has died down, what happens next? Does our obligation to remember the sacrifice, service and accomplishments of our heroes end there? Our responsibility and obligation to our veterans should not end when the last rally is over. Veterans deserve better than that. The defenders of this nation fulfilled their duty and obligation to us, and we have an equal duty to honor and fulfill our obligations to them.
Yet as we stand here today, veterans, all over America are dying due to long delays waiting for medical appointments and treatment. In addition disability benefits are constantly denied so the veteran has to jump through hoops for anything at the VA. Records are always lost or needed. I have always thought to myself that the years of waiting is the intent and hope that the older veterans will die before the claim is settled hence no payout of benefits.
In the next few weeks and months there will be few changes in the VA. The whistle blowers, if still working, will be put in a small office in a basement in another town and state unless they retire. No responsibility for blame will be put on any major figure. Finally things will quieten down and they will go back to business as usual. Or just maybe people, especially veterans, have come to a breaking point and demand change, after all too many veterans have died because of the delays.
Three top VA officials were to testify at a congressional hearing last week, but they did not show up, try that in Judge Williamson’s Courtroom.
I am reminded ad Admiral McCraven’s graduation speech at a Texas University recently. He stated that a Seals Training Compound had a bell in the center of the compound. If you didn’t want to wake up at 5 a.m. ring the bell, if you didn’t want to do the training, you ring the bell. If you ring the bell, it is a sign that you quit. As Americans and veterans, we must never ring the bell, if we want to change the world.
One more thing about Memorial Day. Today is May 26, and it has been declared Memorial Day. I haven’t checked my calendar yet, but I hope Christmas is not on Dec. 20, this year, some people may not have a gift. I’m sorry I said that. Isn’t it politically incorrect to mention Christmas. A lot of Americans don’t honor holidays, but instead see them as a chance for a 3 day weekend and guaranteed savings at a mall, restaurant or car lot. In last weeks Vienna Times, 50 years ago, all stores would be closed on Memorial Day, but would stay open until 7 p.m. on Friday nite. Back then filling stations, grocery stores, etc were all closed for all holidays. This year they are asking that digital devices, phone, computers, etc be left at home on Memorial Day so people can actually enjoy family and honor our veterans. Doubt that happens.
Another thing to mention, it is very apparent that government (politicians) hate when people are actually free to live their own lives. Government wants to be involved in every aspect of your life so they can tax and regulate everything. They want you to be dependent on your government. Remember friends, DON’T RING THE BELL. Our veterans fought and died, so that we could live free.
Let us leave here today knowing that our destiny as a free people is entirely up to us. Let every deed and act of each of our days, be guided by the memory of those who gave their lives for out future freedoms. And may their sacrifice continue to inspire us and fill us with hope all the days of our lives. GOD BLESS AMERICA.