Source: Sherman Publications

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Jim's Jottings
Take time next Monday, give thought to May 30

by Jim Sherman, Sr.

May 25, 2011

It is a veteran, not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the veteran, not the poet who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the veteran, not the campus organizer who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the veteran, not the lawyer who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the veteran, not the politician who has given us the right to vote.

It is the veteran who salutes the flag.

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I'm a veteran of WWII.

I am really proud to be an American.

John Philips Sousa's music thrills me, color guards passing by give me chills, men in uniform of various services make me proud.

The look on peoples' faces on Memorial Day is different from any other day of the year. Their respect, reverence and dignity shows.

In the Navy at Great Lakes Naval Training Station in 1944 my first public march was to a college football game, and I still remember my shoulders going straighter enroute.

That pride and patriotism strengthened over time. I'm more aware of more good things that have been accomplished in the United States by our fellow citizens.

Of course, all accomplishments have not been memorable, but I'm not remembering those this Memorial Day.

I'm remembering learning the Preamble to the Constitution and the Gettysburg address in a 1-room school in Shiwassee County.

I'm remembering the feelings I experienced at the foot of the Statue of Liberty and standing before the Lincoln Memorial, and finding I could still recite the words he spoke in the 1860s while my eyes followed the sculpted words at the memorial.

And, I'm remembering covering all those Memorial Day gatherings at the park in downtown Oxford. Making notes and taking pictures, then on to the cemetery for wreath laying and taps playing.

Oh, those feelings taps bring.

The feelings were great, though different snapping tots waving little American flags, putting their hands over their hearts just like dad, decorated bikes, the high school band . . . the whole atmosphere Memorial Day brings.

Memorial Day, is, of course a day for remembering all. Mom, dad, family, those who died service, those who served and are serving and our country.

God bless this land of the free, and home of the brave. The land of the people, by the people and for the people.