The cost of freedom
It's not about the holiday sales or day off from school, says Ric Vandette, guest speaker at a Memorial Day service held Monday at the Hudson Uptown Building.
"We can get things cheaper because somebody died? I don't get the connection," Vandette, a Vietnam veteran, said.
Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated after the Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. After World War I, Memorial Day was extended to honor all Americans who have died while in military service.
Hudson's 25th annual service was well attended by veterans and local citizens, who came to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice during all conflicts, or as President Abraham Lincoln said during his Gettysburg Address, those who "gave the last full measure of devotion." Attendees were each given a red poppy, a flower that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of France and Belgium in World War I. The Disabled American Veterans Honor Guard presented the colors and, afterward, the Caldwell County Veterans Honor Guard performed a rifle salute.
Vandette was a former Hickory City Schools superintendent. He recalled school board members insisting stutdents should have Memorial Day off.
"I don't think there's a child today who will think those who paid the ultimate sacrifice gave them a day off from school."
During the service, Carl Wagner and Eddie Tapper read off the names of Caldwell County soldiers who died in conflict: 41 who perished during World War I, 138 during WWII, 15 during the Korean War, 20 in the Vietnam War, two during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and one in Afghanistan.
Vandette offered up some alternative ways to remember those who died in conflict besides cookouts, going to the beach or buying steaks during a Memorial Day sale.
"Devote every day in school to understanding the terrible cost of freedom and why we went to war," he advised. "Why not help the veterans, donate to veterans organizations, volunteer?
"Today, take a brief moment and lift your voice to God to thank those who made the ultimate sacrifice. to the men and women who came before us and gave that last measure of devotion."