Published On: Mon, May 23rd, 2016

Remembering Our Fallen, Cherokee to observe Memorial Day 

SFC Clifford Long and SFC  Alva Brown lay a wreath in honor and memory of EBCI tribal members that were killed in action in WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam during last year’s Memorial Day observance at the Yellowhill Veterans Cemetery. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather)

SFC Clifford Long and SFC Alva Brown lay a wreath in honor and memory of EBCI tribal members that were killed in action in WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam during last year’s Memorial Day observance at the Yellowhill Veterans Cemetery. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather)

 

By LEW HARDING

 

Being buried with military honors is a ceremony deeply meaningful to the family and friends of a fallen warrior.  It is short, about eight to 10 minutes, and performed by a band of brothers and sisters who honor the sacrifice of the fallen and choose not to forget.  Words of sympathy and gratitude are spoken over a flag-draped coffin.  An honor guard fires rifles in a 21-gun salute.  The carefully-folded flag is presented to the grieving family followed by a prayer and the presentation of empty casings.

Somehow, it is never enough.  For the families that have lost loved ones, every day is Memorial Day.  It is a day of remembrance honoring those who gave so much and who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we might be free.  On this day, let us all pause to remember the very high price of freedom.

We will do that as a community on Monday, May 30 at 11am at the Yellowhill Veterans Memorial Cemetery.  For those of us that remain, it is our duty to recognize and ensure that future generations remember and are inspired by their heroism in support of our country.  Walking in a Veterans Memorial Park while reflecting on all that was done for us is a very moving experience.  We do indeed owe them a debt we can never repay.

We grieve for the feelings of pain and loss in the families.  May we never take for granted the blessings that we have been given.  And, may we never again sacrifice one warrior in some politician’s trumped-up cause. Hearts can be healed, and the painful memories of Memorial Day can give way to forgiveness and love and joy and peace.  Let us renew our commitment to our fallen and to each other as we honor the memories of those who gave so much to pass the torch of freedom.

On Memorial Day, at 3pm local time, please join our fellow Americans in observing 60 seconds of silence.  This national Moment of Remembrance honors U.S. service members the world over who gave their lives in the line of duty.

 

Harding is the Commander of the Steve Youngdeer American Legion Post 143.