Posts Tagged ‘Memorial Day’


The number of Americans who don’t know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day is inexplicable.  In D.C., Memorial Day for me came to mean more when I realized that fellow Georgia congressional delegation staffer U.A. lost his father in Vietnam before he was born or shortly thereafter.  U.A. worn the uniform of an Army officer and his father would have been so proud of the man he became. 

Two weeks ago, I rode down to Florida with Captain R.A. to pickup a pickup truck his wife let him get to pull his motorcycle trailer.  R.A. was my intern in Rep. Charles Hatcher’s office and he teaches history at an Albany high school.  Since he is on active duty, we ask him if Iraq was less dangerous that teaching.  That was cute until his convoy got ambushed, bullets went insider this truck like on the movies and he had to write those letters to family in America that no officer wants to ride.  R.A.’s family loves him so much that they constantly called him during our road trip; I am glad I wished him a good Veterans Day rather than…

On February 23, 1991, the Pentagon called me in Rep. Hatcher’s office to say that Army Specialist James Worthy of Albany was killed SCUD missile attack on his barracks during Operation Desert Storm.  My short walk to tell the congressman was rough and I will never forget the look on his face when he told me to get Worthy’s family’s contact numbers.

A friend with the 101st Airborne was traveling on a military charter from a peacekeeping mission in Egypt on December 12, 1985, and the plane crash in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada.  Today, we know that Libya brought the plane down because the troops were coming from enforcing the terms of the 1978 Camp David Accords.  B. was an alter boy with me for years at the A.M.E. church and was the third Black quarterback in our high school’s post integration history.  For the 10th year memorial of the crash, I went out to Arlington Memorial Cemetery for a brief ceremony to remember him.

I could see the Lee-Custis Mansion at Arlington from my 8th floor D.C. apartment by looking south; looking north at the Capitol and Washington Monument cost $100 a month more like facing the beach in Panama City.  People need to remember that the house belonged to General Robert E. Lee’s wife, who was a family with George Washington. Union Georgian General Montogomery Meigs made the decision to bury Union soldiers at Lee’s House.

The bloodiest day in American history was September 17, 1862 when 26,000 Americans fell during the Battle of Antietam.  Yes, I consider both sides as Americans.

President Lincoln said it best at Gettysburg when he proclaimed that Americans fallen heroes gave the last full measure of devotion.


By 1864, the military cemeteries of Washington and Alexandria were filled with Union dead, and Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs quickly selected Arlington as the site for a new cemetery. Meigs, a Georgian who had served under Lee in the U.S. Army and who hated his fellow Southerners who were fighting against the Union, ordered that graves be placed just outside the front door of the mansion, to prevent the Lees from ever returning. Meigs himself supervised the burial of 26 Union soldiers in Mrs. Lee’s rose garden. In October, Meigs’ own son was killed in the war, and he too was buried at Arlington.

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