Friday, June 3, 2011

Pensive Memorial Day

Hello My Friends! My bog this week is the summer break edition of Josie Tales. I have taken the week off and am re-running my Memorial Day tale. It is one of my favorite stories, so I hope my long time readers enjoy revisiting this adventure and that my new friends enjoy it for the first time! Next week I will recount my time in Indianapolis for the Indy 500! Have a great weekend! Josie

My fellow Americans and blog readers from other countries,
Happy Friday! Happy weekend! I trust you had a productive week? My friends and I decided to forego any frivolity last weekend and observe Memorial Day in a dignified manner. Well, as dignified as a group of adventurous critters can be!
Living in a military town gives one an appreciation for the members of the armed services. For my new friends who may not know, I live in Fayetteville, NC, home of Ft. Bragg and the famous 82nd Airborne. If you’ve never lived in a military town, it’s quite the experience. Large military planes fly over your house. Sometimes people jump out of them making a stream of parachutes that look like they are just floating the sky. Other times your house will shake from artillery being fired at a range that seemed far away, but evidently isn’t! One especially cool thing about a military town is that you will see license plates from absolutely every state in the union! You don’t have to drive from one end of the interstate to the other to see them, just go to the mall parking lot! I’ve even seen Alaska and Hawaii license plates. It’s also cool to meet people from so many different places. I think my Mom really likes that she’s not the only one around here with a northern accent. Everyone else in our household is a southerner, so Mom is the odd man out. She promised me someday she would take me to NY so I could see where she grew up.
But I digress! Memorial Day, that’s what I want to talk about. I recruited a group of friends to help me to find some way to properly recognize this special holiday. First we sat and talked about how Memorial Day touched us in our own personal way. I know my Mom lost a cousin in the Viet Nam war. Corny said his family has a long history of doing recon for the U.S. Someone in his family has served and several have given their crow lives in every conflict the U.S. has been in. Bobbi had heard family stories about her family members throwing acorns at Union solders in the Civil War. Fortunately, my human Mom’s family didn’t come to the U.S. until after the Civil War, so Bobbi’s family hadn’t thrown any acorns at anyone in her family! Malcolm mumbled that his family was very brave and saved many lives, but he didn’t want to talk about it. He then asked if we were going to eat soon.
Lucy was visiting and she said she had heard about special events going on at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum downtown. I had seen pictures on TV of all the American flags that were put in a field by people honoring family members. We all agreed that we wanted go downtown and help put flags in the ground.
First we all had to be properly attired. Naturally, I have a lovely collection of patriotic hats and scarves. I let my friends select a hat and scarf to their liking. Malcolm growled something about not wanting to look ridiculous, so he refused to pick anything to wear – this from a tomcat who wears a chicken bucket on his head!!!
We asked my brother, Tristan, to drive us downtown. Corny told him he’d give him the money he had found in the Wal-Mart parking lot so he could buy himself something to eat while he waited for us. Tristan agreed and we all climbed in to his car and headed downtown!
I was already familiar with downtown since that is where the Dogwood Festival is held. I didn’t remember seeing the museum. When we drove up to it I didn’t know how I could have missed it. It was beautiful! Tristan dropped us off in the back of the building and told us he’d be back in an hour. He then hurried away. We found some flags sitting in a bucket and we each grabbed one. We decided we would make our own parade and march to the front of the museum.

We hummed every military march we could think of – which wasn’t many. Still, we knew enough to be able to march all the way to the front of the building. People made way for our parade and applauded as we hummed and marched by. We were so busy enjoying the attention that we didn’t notice that we marched right into the middle of a ceremony!
We immediately quieted down. There were a bunch of soldiers standing there. They were unveiling a special stone with much fanfare. The soldiers were having trouble getting the heavy covers off the stones, so Lucy and I jumped in to help.

They were very heavy but we were finally able to lift them off. The soldiers thanked us and invited us to help add more flags to the Field of Honor after the next event was over. We said sure, but we didn’t know what the next event was.
Suddenly, Corny became very agitated and took off into the sky, hat and all. He headed toward a large bird that had just come out of a plane flying overhead. As the bird got closer we realized it was a parachuting soldier. Corny flew along with the soldier to make sure he wasn’t scared and to give him some flying tips. Since the ground was very hard and the soldier was coming down pretty fast, Lucy and I ran to find something in which to catch the parachutist

I guess he had done this a few times before, because he landed perfectly without our help. That was very exciting!
Now it was time to get to work helping with all the American flags.
Even Malcolm took some flags and put them carefully in the ground.

As we stepped back to take a look at our handiwork, we agreed that this was the perfect way to celebrate Memorial Day. We chatted with some soldiers and their families until Tristan came back to pick us up. As we were heading for the car, a bugle in the distance started playing taps. We all stopped in our tracks, took off our hats, stood quietly and listened.

By the time the song was over there wasn’t a dry eye in our group. We put our hats back on and slowly walked to the car.
On the ride home we told Tristan all about our parade, the stone ceremony, the parachutist and our helping with the flags. We certainly did pack a lot into an hour! Malcolm asked if we could go through a drive through to get some chicken. Tristan was nice enough to oblige him. We thanked Tristan for being our chauffer and complimented him on his good driving.
When we arrived home I gave each of my friends a hug and thanked them for sharing this special day with me. I let them keep the hats and scarves as a memento of the occasion. I think this will be an annual event for me.
I hope you enjoyed your long weekend, but still found time to honor those who have served our country proudly. Until next time…

Love & licks,

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