It’s finally happening. The too-long-neglected downtown in our community is coming back to life!
Over a year ago, I told you it was a new day in the Mossy Creek Historic District, and I’m happy to report that we’ve stayed on track! Today we’re crossing Ts and dotting Is—and getting ready to break ground very soon.
Empty lots where classy old buildings once stood are going to become a Festival Park for community gatherings and family picnics. The park will include a grassy hillside amphitheater, event pavilion, restroom facilities, playground, and. . .
insert drum roll
. . . one of my favorite features: an oft-requested by our community Veterans Memorial
The Battle of Mossy Creek (a minor battle of the American Civil War) took place in our county on December 29, 1863. Civil War graves are common in our oldest cemeteries.
A few weeks ago, Renaissance Man and I spent a Saturday morning walking through several local cemeteries looking for tombstones of veterans. We found them. Every war from the Civil War to the present was represented. We saw veterans who lived many years beyond their days of military service—and we saw some who made the ultimate sacrifice and were returned for burial; others still remain missing in action.
Most graves were those of strangers (to us). Others held memories of times spent together—and the day of final rest. We spent a little extra time at this one. If you haven’t read the story I wrote about Lonas’s wife, Helen, please do. She’s a veteran, too, and her final salute to her husband is an amazing story!
Today I’ll have a new experience.
I’ll stand outside of Walmart with a group of other board members from the Mossy Creek Foundation and give neighbors the opportunity to purchase engraved bricks in tribute to their friends and family who are veterans. Bricks that will soon be laid in the veterans flag plaza at our new Festival Park. Anyone who has ties in any form to Jefferson County, Tennessee is welcome to place bricks in honor or memory of someone in their life who is a veteran—of any war.
Renaissance Man and I have already purchased bricks in honor of my Dad and our son-in-law (aka my Favorite Fatigue Wearer). And we’ve purchased in memory of a forever-young friend of Daughter the Older.
And another because I can’t bear the thought of any veteran in our community not knowing their service is appreciated.
Perhaps because my Dad was fortunate to serve during peacetime (and my grandfathers weren’t veterans), I’m sorry to say I never fully appreciated the significance of Memorial Day until the last decade. Perhaps my appreciation is a result of maturity. Perhaps it’s due to the firsthand glimpse I’ve gotten at the Silent Sacrifice of military families. Whatever the reason, I’m thankful I no longer view Memorial Day as simply a “holiday”.
How about you? How are you spending this Memorial Day?
Do you have friends or family who are veterans? I suspect almost all of us do! If you’re fortunate enough to still have them around, why not tell them “thank you” today?
To my two favorite paratroopers—one “old school” and one skilled Jumpmaster—thank you for your service! You both know I love and appreciate you every day!