A salute to those who salute the Veterans on this sacred day

Published 10:37 am Friday, May 30, 2014

This Memorial Day was again very special, a time to reflect on those who have made our lives and country free, and to remember all our family members now gone who have created opportunities for us to enjoy where we find ourselves today.

As for veterans “All gave some, and some gave all!” A debt that can only be repaid by “paying it forward” and living with thanksgiving, gratitude and vigilant remembrances of them all, that their lives will always be revered and remembered.

This May 26 was a special day in Franklin. Our own beloved Congressman Randy Forbes was guest speaker at the Poplar Spring Cemetery Memorial Service. His endless, tireless Christ-like service to the 4th District, to His dountry and to each of us is cherished. Thank you, Randy!

The Memorial Day Service at the nation’s capital was particularly reverent, sacred and inspiring. As those remembered represented all those lost, who gave their all and those who now suffer the tragic effects of war. To all of them and their families, we owe our gratitude and support.

There are two amazing residents in our city who deserve very special thanks for their saluting others.

First is our own Hunterdale lady, Patsy Bridges, Glenn’s wife, who called my home on Memorial Day Weekend to thank me for my father’s service in WWII, for my service during Vietnam, and for our son’s service as an Army Medic in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When we received our annual call from Patsy, we asked her how many calls they make. She said “in excess of 230.” What a true labor of love and gratitude that Glenn and Patsy have for this country and their community. How wonderful it is to be remembered and thanked. Patsy and Glenn, you are guardian angels of those who have served our country by keeping their memories alive. May you be richly blessed for your kindnesses.

And second, Tuesday the 27th, I was visiting our family site at Poplar Spring, when I saw a familiar man taking up American and Confederate Flags from the graves of former veterans. On the Thursday and Friday before Memorial Day I had seen a group of Girl Scouts reverently placing these flags on the veterans’ resting places.

So I stopped and asked Scott Phillips of Robinhood Road, Franklin, what organization was responsible for such deeds of honor, kindness and remembrances. He told me the following:

When he was growing up in Troop 28, his father Eddie Phillips, started this project. Some years later Troop 28 gave up their charter and folded. Eddie did not want their patriotic gesture to fold up too. So he and Scott continued their project to this very day. I asked him if he had help. He said “some.” He said “The American Legion helps supply the flags. I then ask the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to help ‘put the colors’ at each grave of a veteran. Sometimes help is better than at other times, but I am going to see this is done. I used to help my dad, Eddie Phillips, and then he began helping me. But now Dad isn’t able to help, so I rely on others. I love doing it. It is a good thing. I don’t mind the time it takes.” I’m sure he was thinking “my little bit of time to thank so many who gave us so much.”

So thank you Patsy and Glenn Bridges, Eddie and Scott Phillips, for caring about others more than about yourselves. And thank you veterans past and present who pay such heavy prices for our cherished way of life. Thanks to the families of each person who has served and who are serving for your sacrifices on their and our behalves.

I have heard it said so dearly about Christ and his gift to us all. “He paid a debt that he did not owe, for us who had a debt we could not pay.”

May we in some way liken this to our veterans who “All gave some, and some gave all” for each of us.

God bless our veterans over all the years. God bless those who stand watch over us today.

Alexis de Tocqueville said in 1831, “America is great because she is good. If she ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

May God bless us all that we might each do our part to “Make America ‘Good’ so she will always be ‘Great.’’

From a son of a Veteran, a veteran, and a father of one who serves today.

JIM COUNCILL is former mayor of the City of Franklin and owner of Councill Financial Concepts. His email is jpcouncill@charter.net.