Rainbow was a solemn memory

Published 5:26 am Saturday, May 27, 2017

Dear Editor,

The Memorial Day ceremony that these days fills my thoughts most vividly was on the last Monday in May of 1999, the last year of the century in which all veterans now living were born, the century when our country became an international power and then was brought into five horrifying international wars.

We gathered that afternoon at Ponemah Cemetery and the old veterans’ plot where doughboys from our old Company I finally found their Tipperary, and where men who served on Iwo Jima and those who had forced themselves along during the Bataan Death March and the ones who almost froze during the Battle of the Bulge lie in eternal silence.

It had rained that day and we momentarily thought of moving into the comforting shelter of the Legion Hall, but it occurred to some old G.I. that surely enough stamina was left in us to endure a few gentle raindrops, and the program went forward with its usual dignity and a few scattered tears. At its end, as the last notes of “Taps” were echoing, and as the haunting rhymes of “In Flanders Fields” began to be heard, the sky cleared, and a beautiful rainbow faintly came into view, softly adorning the entire eastern heavens. As we quietly drove home, Dixie whispered that the rainbow was our buddies letting us know they were there with us.

Magic City Post No. 24 and its nationally recognized rifle squad will present a 10 a.m. Memorial Day program at Fisher Methodist Church west of Franklinton, and will conclude the day with its traditional ceremony at Ponemah Cemetery. We hope that our countrymen throughout this favored land will share these ceremonies and these remembrances with their local Legion posts.

Freedom is certainly not free. It seems to be one of those ideals that requires continuing sacrifice, and we should remember and honor those who gave of themselves and their lives to preserve it for us, “that memory may their deeds redeem, when like our sires, our sons are gone.”

John N. Gallaspy