According to my calculations, the last time we had a Memorial Day service in Muleshoe was 2019 because of Covid. At any rate, thanks to the epidemic, it has been a few years since we gave thanks to the million or more Americans who have fought and died for our country.
Monday, May 29, we drove to the Bailey County Cemetery to pay our respects to those who served. The sun was under clouds and the wind was blowing a bit chilly, but a nice crowd began to gather.
As people gathered, Pastor Curtis Shelburne sang “Remind Me, Dear Lord.” Cemetery Board President Raul Torres opened the service with welcome and thanks for coming, followed by an opening prayer by Pastor Jeff Coffman.
Members of the Muleshoe Volunteer Fire Department raised the flag to half-mast in honor of the fallen, and Curtis led us in singing the National Anthem.
Raul then led the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and Curtis sang again, a bittersweet song of the homesickness felt by so many who served, “Letters from Home.”
Jeff then thanked the cemetery board of directors and workers who tidied up the cemetery for today’s ceremony. He then shared with us the story of Marine Staff Sergeant Jimmie Howard’s men defending Hill 488 in Viet Nam. The siege went on for more than one day and night, and the Marines were outnumbered and eventually ran low on ammunition. At one point, their battle strategy involved laughing at the enemy, which did confuse them, and throwing rocks, which also held them at bay for a time. In the end, only eight survived, but they fought to the end and never gave up; ordinary people doing extraordinary things, examples of the people we were paying our respects to today.
After Jeff ended the program with a prayer, Raul dismissed the crowd. By then the sun had come out and there was no rush to leave. People visited with each other and visited various graves, many of which had American flags proudly waving by them.
Amen, and Amen.