My father-in-law was the speaker at the Memorial Day Program held at the Parowan Cemetery last Monday. He spoke about his father, Hugh LeRoy ("Roy") Adams and the service he gave in World War II. Roy served as a sharp shooter in the army and at one point was on the front lines in central Europe for 73 straight days. After a year and a half of service, Roy married his sweetheart, Elaine Sandberg (who is now 93 years old) on a furlough in 1944, had less than a 3 days together with his bride and returned to the front lines for another 18 months before being reunited. He wrote nearly every day and Kellie has created an amazing book full of snippets of his letters arranged by topic.
One letter that Alan quoted from in his speech was written from Germany on April 10, 1945. A small portion reads:
"We are seeing some of the castles over here. They have the appearance of a defensive set up, and these people sure are WARLIKE...It's nice to know that there is a place where peace exists and people don't always prepare for defense in an unhealthy manner."
After reading this, Alan became emotional and said,
"Ladies and Gentleman because of people like my dad and your dads and grandpas, and my mother, your mother and grandmothers, we this very day live in that place where peace exists. I hope we never forget their sacrifice, their courage, their love for country more than love for self, and most importantly some who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country."
It was a beautiful way to start the day, thinking about those who have sacrificed on our behalf and praying for those who are currently sacrificing so that we may continue to live in a place of peace and prosperity. I always feel such a reverence in cemeteries as it is, but standing there with my hand over my heart while "Taps" was played so perfectly on a solitary bugle and then hearing the bang of the military salute echo off the Parowan hills, I felt yet another overwhelming sense of gratitude to be an American. What a blessed land we live in.
I also love that Memorial Day allows us an opportunity to pause our hectic lives and focus our thoughts on those loved ones who have passed on. On Sunday night we took a walk with the family around the cemetery and visited Erin's grave - Burke's little sister who was stillborn and delivered at 6 months. Burke still remembers being six years old and helping to carry the tiny casket as a pall bearer at their family graveside service. When I hear Marie tell about this painful loss in their family, I always feel a comforting spirit surround us. I think Erin must be a very special person who is still a part of our Adams family looking out for her siblings from the other side. I look forward to meeting her some day