OKEECHOBEE — When local veteran Gregg Maynard heard there would be no Memorial Day ceremony in the park this year, he immediately got to work planning a small service. "I feel the family of the fallen deserve something," he said.
Although Maynard said he was not good at public speaking, he gave a moving speech honoring those who gave their lives for this country:
General George Patton once said that it is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived. I, however, disagree with some of that. Patton never bore the pain of losing a son , father or brother. I didn't have much time to put this event together as I found out Friday evening that nothing was planned, but you know the greatest tributes or monuments to fallen men are not made in marble. They are deep in the sea, deep in the jungles, on foreign battlefields a rifle driven into the ground with a helmet on top and some dog tags. Today is Memorial Day. The day we pay homage to all of those who didn't make it home. Today is not a celebration but a day to reflect over the cost of our freedom. The origin of Memorial Day is complex as to where it came from. It started as Decoration Day during the Civil War as a simple gesture to honor the roughly 620,000 that lost their lives. By the end of WWI, the focus shifted from honoring those killed in the Civil War, to all men and women who had died while fighting for our country. It is the most expensive holiday since the founding of this great nation, not by measuring the amount spent on traveling, cooking out, get-togethers or mattress sales. However, I feel that those that died for our country would not want it to be a sad somber day but would want us to enjoy the freedom of being able to do so and remember them and thank them. Here we have 29 such brave men that we are here to honor:
WWI, WWII and Korea:
Clarence Alderman, Donald Barber, Henry Bass Jr, Albert Berka Jr, William Goodwin, Vernon King, Claude Leitner, Pete Leitner, Durward Lightsey, LP Mercer Jr, James Thomas, Herman Watford, James Anderson, James Morgan, James Smith and Earl Hansel.
Marvin Goodman, W Kenneth Lawson, James Lowdermilk, Victor Spray, Howard Weeks, Daniel Brown, Jim Goolsby, Raymond Mays, Robert Man and Micheal Dinkins.
Iraq / afghanistan:
Wentz Shanaberger, Shawn Suzch and Raymond Border.
I think that maybe we all should take a little time to research and learn who these brave men were besides names on a wall. I believe we owe them that.
Maynard said he hopes to have a bigger and better ceremony next year, because he will have more time to plan it.