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Phil in the Blank A column by Phil Custodio


Day for remembrance



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May 22, 2013 - Memorial Day hits close to home for Clarkston this year.

Memories of local soldier Joseph A. Miracle are still way too fresh. He died in 2007 after being wounded in Afghanistan.

Students at Clarkston Junior High School are honoring the memory of fellow Clarkstonite Jenna Beno, who died recently from injuries suffered while serving in Iraq. She was 24, way too young for a Memorial Day remembrance.

The junior high students are dedicating their courtyard stone garden to her, 11 a.m., Thursday, May 23, at the school, 6595 Waldon Road.

The teachers and administration folks at the junior high are doing great work with their students, connecting them with the people behind the history being taught.

They invite World War II veterans every year for some first-hand history, an opportunity soon to fade as we head deeper into the 21st century.

That's why Memorial Day is so important – veterans, as well as everyone else, become a memory much too quickly.

I remember when the World War I generation of veterans were still around, speaking to students, going to veterans' events, marching in parades. It wasn't that long ago. But by the late 1990s, they were gone.

Memorial Day was established with World War I veterans in mind, but has since been expanded to include all vets, before and after.

Veterans of the Civil War and before lie in Lakeview Cemetery, where American Legion Post 63 will host a ceremony this Monday.

I visited the Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg last week, on the way to Virginia for my nephew's college graduation.

My folks hired a battlefield guide, who pointed out some of the memorials placed by Michigan regiments.

They were all over that pivotal Civil War battlefield, with monuments recognizing Michiganders' sacrifice in the Wheat Field, Peach Orchard, the rocky slopes of Little Round Top, as well as the center of the line, helping to repel Pickett's Charge.

I'll remember all of them this Monday, while covering the parade and ceremony. Then summer can officially start.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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