Memorable Memorial Day
One of Baldwin City's best traditions played out Monday morning, just ahead of some sorely needed rain. The American Legion Post conducted its annual Memorial Day service.
There were about 50 people who attended the event, taking in the Color Guard, the memory bell ringing, bugle playing and a speech, this time by wounded veteran John Musgrave, long-time Baldwin resident who served in the Marines during the Vietnam War.
"Memorial Day is the most important holiday we have," Musgrave said, explanaining that without it, the Fourth of July might not be possible. "Memorial Day celebrates the cost of freedom that we celebrate on the Fourth of July.
"Today, we honor those who have died in service of our country," he said.
Musgrave said it's not just about those who have served, but the parents, teachers and others that have helped mold those who have served. It's a time for reflection for all of those who are gone.
He also made the point that it's not accurate to say that soldiers give up their lives for their country.
"As a combat veteran, I have to say that no one gave their life," said Musgrave. "Everyone had their life torn from their hands."
The Vietnam War veteran was also thankful for the turnout at Monday's service. It showed him that people still care. He was also hopeful that there would be peace around the world on the day.
"I want to thank all of you for being here today," said Musgrave. "Americans are serving overseas today. Dear God, don't let someone die today."
Little did he know that upon returning from the service, those in attendance who tuned in their televisions to the news found out his wish didn't come true. Numerous people died in Iraq on Memorial Day, including two CBS journalists.
He was also thankful that the crowd at the cemetery, amid the flags waving, knew that Memorial Day is more than what a lot of people have come to view it as.
"It's thought of as the first holiday of the summer," said Musgrave. "I'm sorry, but I think that's a shame. It makes me appreciate you even more for coming out here today."
He spoke of the teenagers he served with in Vietnam. He was a teenager himself at the time. They were all too young to be doing what they were doing. But, if it weren't for those youngsters pulling him out of the fighting after he was wounded again, he wouldn't be here.
"I am here today because of the sacrifices of those 18 and 19 year old kids," said Musgrave. "This is the least we can do. Today is the day we prove ourselves worthy of those who have served. Today is the day we thank God we live in the United States of America.
"Today, we commit ourselves a new to our country," he said. "Today, we commit ourselves again."