More than a name on a wall

By Randy Garrison

Saturday last I had the privilege and honor to be a part of the Purple Heart Memorial Service held at Sparkman Park, sponsored by the Finish J. Self Chapter 2212 Military Order of the Purple Heart of Cullman and Morgan County Alabama. This is an annual event to honor the men and women who have received the Purple Heart.

The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the United States who are wounded by an instrument of war at the hands of an enemy and is awarded after death to those soldiers who are killed or die of wounds received in action. It is a combat award. The award dates back to the days of George Washington when he sought a way to honor valor and merit of his soldiers.

During the ceremony following the posting of colors, pledge and National Anthem, the names of recipients are read and a bell is rung in their memory. Family members and or friends who attend the ceremony are also presented a Purple Heart flag honoring their loved one. Guest speaker this year was Robert Stewart, Brigadier General (Retired) United States Army. He spoke and challenged those in attendance to bring back the America of the past before it was too late. Stewart also later served as an astronaut in the Space Shuttle Program. I participated by reading a list of Purple Heart recipients.

While the entire ceremony was very moving a song by the Statler Brothers was played with the following lyrics:

“I saw her from a distance, as she walked up to the wall
In her hand she held some flowers, as her tears began to fall
She took out pen and paper as to trace her mem’ries
She looked up to heaven, and the words she said were these

She said, “Lord my boy was special, and he meant so much to me
And Oh, I’d love to see him just one more time you see
All I have are the mem’ries and the moments to recall
So Lord could you tell him he’s more than a name on the wall”

She said, “He really missed the family, being home on Christmas day
And he died for God and country in a place so far away
I remember just a little boy, playing war since he was three”

I watched a mother who had lost her son in Iraq react to the words of the song. As the tears streamed down her face I think the reality of war and loss hit me harder than it ever has. The combination of the words of the song and seeing this mother’s reaction would break anyone’s heart. While it is easy to read names on a piece of paper or ones chiseled into stone on a memorial wall, these names represent a son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, other family member or friend. 

To all the families who have lost loved ones in service to our country, we owe all of you a debt of gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice each of you has suffered. We honor and cherish the memory of each soldier who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, they are much more than a name on a wall or a piece of paper.

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Annual Hartselle Camp Meeting begins Sunday

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Salute: Hartselle High alumnus graduates from Naval Academy 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Annual Hartselle Camp Meeting begins Sunday

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Goodbye to a good boy: Beloved family pet, Ace, battles cancer  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

College Street Players to present Newsies: The Broadway Musical 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle adds two police officers 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle bomb threat deemed hoax

Editor's picks

At 90, Carl Winton keeps on trucking

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle man with rare genetic condition headed to Grand Ole Opry

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Morgan delegation discusses recent legislative session 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

College Street Players to present Newsies: The Broadway Musical

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

HU adjusts rates for water, sewer and natural gas services

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Town Council helps Priceville Elementary furnish school 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle City Schools hires three math coaches for 2024-25 school year 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Crestline students rock Alabama Stock Market Games, poster contest

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

New EMA director worries and plans for a living

Falkville

Jonna’s journey: Local woman battles Glioblastoma with unyielding faith 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Sheriff’s Office opens applications for 2024 youth academy

Brewer

MCS Technology Park to host STEAM summer camp for middle school students 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Bridging the gap: Hartselle Historical Society launches guided walk downtown bringing history to life

Falkville

Storm shelter companies see increase in calls for installation

Falkville

Morgan County rabies clinic to be held June 1

Eva

Community class reunion celebrates Morgan schools

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hats off: Class of 2024 graduates from Hartselle High School

x