Honoring the Fallen Veterans
Cottonwood seeds fly and fall effortlessly past me as I sit on the porch in the midst of mountains. I am mesmerized by the tiny parachutes carrying their gifts of new life.
It’s the end of May and Memorial Day weekend. People come from everywhere to fish the river, like we once did. I hear boat motors in slow rhythm.
My husband and I feel a slight weight on our chests. We speak of it more than once. The weight is unrelated to his painting projects and my doing dishes. It’s about the people we miss in our lives.
At one point, I look up above the kitchen cabinets—pottery lined up like weary soldiers.
I then hear we need more paint for the new retiree. He’s in the middle of a long Honey-Do list. I immediately volunteer to zigzag the mountain road, drive 20 miles to Lowe’s for paint.
It could be a morning adventure for me. Crows caw and urge me on.
After the drive into town, I park. Single-focused, my steps lead me to the paint department. When I later find myself in the check-out line, I see mannequins dressed in military uniforms. It’s a poignant reminder. Men and women from all branches of service have fallen and sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. They gave their all.
I move back through the doors and face the huge parking lot. One space, I notice, is highly decorated with flowers, like so many graves throughout America this weekend.
Pausing at that reserved parking space, my heart quickens while reading the sign explaining the elaborate gesture. I taste the sadness and feel heaviness in my heart.
This is the weekend to pause and ponder the fallen service men and women. I snap a photo.
For the umpteenth time, I take the shortcut, Baxter County 69. But today is different. My eyes finally catch the small Veteran sign my husband has told me about, a sign that honors our friend’s brother, Troy Gordon Cope (Gordy, to his family and friends). So, this is the Troy Gordon Cope Road. The airman was a pilot and gave his life in combat during the Korean Conflict. Tenderness floods me.
Back home, I show the Lowe’s photo honoring all Veterans to my husband. “Oh, sakes alive!” he says. “Whoa!” Then he releases a long, loud breath.
Ten minutes later, he sends the photo to his sister and brother.
We struggle our way through Memorial Day. My thoughts may not make sense to many, but the weight on my chest is lighter, and I’m sure of one thing: The Lord is My Shepherd….
God bless you,
P.S. If you want to find my books, please check out my name on Amazon. All my books are listed there.
Photo taken by Pat Durmon in the Lowe's parking lot, Mountain Home, Arkansas. Memorial Day weekend 2023.
Poetry Books by Pat Durmon
Pat Durmon's newest book, the story of a man from Norfork and a tribute to the town who raised him, is a fundraising effort. All profits go toward a scholarship at Norfork High School, Norfork, Arkansas.