In my heart, I feel the need to bring to light the memory of this past Memorial Day at the N.C. State Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville.
Being the widow of Gunnery Sgt. WM. M. Virtue who is laid to rest there, the only proper words to say come from what I see and what I feel.
Looking about, the crowds had become enormous, too numerous to count. Many were saying, “Where are all of these people coming from?” Also, a huge number of bikers attended the service, later walking about the cemetery to pay their respects, leaving behind their footprints in the green, green grass of home.
As I sat in a chair at the grave of my husband, two bikers approached me, read the headstone of my husband, kneeled and said a silent prayer. Were they angels on my shoulder?
The day was extremely warm. Tents, chairs and bottled water were provided for all. At the movement of the hands on the clock, it became standing-room only. This was not a parade. This was a day put down in history to remain in history until the end of time, a family together forever.
Speakers read the names on five pages of those recently departed and rang a bell for each and every one.
Neither heat nor cold could change this day. Our veterans would not only be remembered in Jacksonville, but all across the country.
A gentle breeze was putting all the flags into motion. Could it be possible that our veterans were saying thank you, thank you for remembering us?
The real estate here is the most valuable that money cannot buy, paid for with the heart and soul of each and every veteran.
Thank you to all the Young Marines and Boy Scouts who not only placed a flag at all headstones, but left a note with a penny and two words upon it: “Thank You.”
Memorial Day, a day to remember our veterans. For all who are able to attend the services at the cemeteries, let’s keep the crowds growing. Show our gratitude and respect to all who served our country. For many unable to attend, if you have a loved one laid to rest, it would surely be a blessing by itself to know out there, somewhere, there is someone paying their respects in the memory of your veteran. Semper Fi.
Eva Virtue, New Bern