Every time to go to City Hall, I pass within a few steps of “The Chaplain”…a bronze statue behind City Hall by Austin Deuel. The statue will take on special significance tomorrow morning, serving as the backdrop for a brief memorial service to remember those who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.
For many years, Diana and I have researched our family genealogy and found numerous forefathers who served in war – more than one as a Chaplain. When we visit the graveside of an ancestor who fought for freedom, we always find a flag or, sometimes, a metal marker beside their headstone commemorating the war in which they served. These are important reminders their service and sacrifice are not forgotten. We are deeply grateful for the many volunteers who place these markers and flags in the cemeteries all across America.
Sometimes, we’re also reminded of sacrifices made by those not in uniform. About ten years ago, my aunt sent me a print from a painting by my grandmother. My aunt’s accompanying letter explained how Grandma Laurel painted on old window-shades because she had no money to buy artist’s canvas.
Grandma’s painting of a small farm house with snow-covered mailboxes in the front yard captures the emotion of how she waited nervously each day for news from her three sons stationed overseas during WWII. Grandma also wrote poems; one penned during the war began, “Today I received a letter, from a land across the sea; a letter I’ll cherish always, from my darling son to me.”
Grandma’s paintings and poems are a poignant reminder what a lonely, scary time war is, even for those safely at home. It wasn’t just my uncles who served; so did my father. In fact, between Diana and me, we have over twenty relatives who served in WWII. All their loved ones at home also made emotional financial sacrifices for the freedoms we enjoy today. These are the men and women we will honor and remember tomorrow, Memorial Day 2018.
Earlier this month, I turned in petition signatures to qualify as a candidate for Council in this year’s election, thanks more than 75 supporters who gathered signatures on my behalf. Memorial flags, revolutionary war markers and sculptures like “The Chaplain” all remind me that collecting signatures on a petition is a privilege. Each is a reminder that running for political office in our country is a right protected and secured by the service and sacrifices of those before us.