On May 27, 2019 I visited the Jacksonville City Cemetery for Memorial Day to place flags on my family’s plot. I contemplated all the things I could tell these folks if they were still here. I could tell them about all the wonderful things happening in our town: the upgrades at the City Parks, the new restroom at the soccer field, the Little Free Libraries, our new mayor and councilmen, the Tomato Fest, the new water meters, and the fabulous renovation of our beloved Tomato Bowl.

I looked down at my feet standing in knee high grass, mentally excusing this due to recent excessive rainfall. But when I looked up at the nearby flagpole where no American flag was present, my heart sank. This is the cemetery where most of our city’s fallen heroes are buried. People like my Dad, who survived three and a half years in the WW ll European Theatre, and his younger brother, one of our country’s most decorated heroes, who, after fighting on two continents, sacrificed it all.

How could I explain such a thing: that mine and only one other small flag could be seen?

Today on June 6, we celebrate D Day to commemorate the landings of American and Allied Forces on the beaches of Normandy to end that terrible war. All of us share a tremendous debt for these efforts, and it is our duty to show our respect. We can do better. No excuses.

Pat Walker Graham