the bistro off broadway

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Memorial Day, Every Day?
By Bob Robinson

“If you didn’t have to be here, would you still come?”

I’ve asked that question now for the past four years. One young lady – a Wavette, she was a freshman then – wasn’t sure and I teased her about it. This year, a graduating senior, she was sure…

“Yes!” she said, without hesitation. This year, in a leadership role, I had her ask her fellow Wavettes… about half said yes. The rest? Maybe not sure. Maybe simply no.

The event, of course, was Greenville’s Memorial Day Parade.

After subbing in Greenville schools for the past five years, I’ve gotten to know a lot of our kids. Maybe it’s just my wise-guy disposition, but I’ve always loved asking them – whether I knew them or not – “why are you here?” Maybe one out of five can tell me. Sometimes mom or dad gives them hints… sometimes not.

Each year, the parade forms in front of the Greenville Public Library. Each year – precisely at 1 p.m. – it begins, with our nation’s colors and those who served in the lead. Each year respects are paid at the Darke County Courthouse and again at the North Broadway Bridge over Greenville Creek.

The parade continues until it reaches the resting place of many of our heroes, the Greenville Cemetery. And as we have done each year in the past, we pay our respects with Taps, a 21-gun salute, prayers, commentary and our thoughts.

I think about those who served, those who paid the ultimate price. A number of veterans made sure I understood that they understood. Memorial Day is set aside for the heroes, not for them… heroes like Medal of Honor recipient Douglas Dickey… heroes like many of those buried in our local cemeteries… heroes like my natural father, who gave his life in service during the Cold War of the 1950s… heroes like my adopted father who served his country with honor in WWII and Korea… heroes like my friend Jim who gave his life in Vietnam…

Memorial Day was a month ago and I’m just now recording my thoughts. Have I really been that busy? Can we really be too busy not to take note of the ultimate sacrifices of so many of our nation’s finest?

Maybe remembering our heroes each day is unrealistic. Maybe not. But it’s something to think about, isn’t it? I have the freedom to be a wise-guy, the freedom to be busy, the freedom to make my own choices, the freedom at age 71 to be working with our young people… all thanks to our heroes.

Those freedoms have been purchased with the sacrifices of young men and women who gave up their dreams so I could have mine. I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to try to be a little more cognizant of that fact. Maybe not every day, but certainly more often than once a year.

One day out of the year simply doesn’t cut it.

Complete photo sets of the Memorial Day Parade and Observance have been posted at the Community Events Photo Gallery.


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