The Basket Lady
In just a few days, we’ll have parades, dignitaries and Memorial services in the River Valley to honor our fallen soldiers and heroes. As I’m sitting here writing this week’s basket lady column, the cold chills are running up and down my spine as I think about my Grandfather A.E. Burdette who fought valiantly in WWI and was one of the few who lived after being exposed to the Mustard gas that the Germans rained down on his platoon.
Another particular soldier that comes to mind who served our Country under the command of General George S. Patton, Jr., is George Garon, a neighbor and friend who passed away. George couldn’t have picked a better day to march victoriously in to glory than on July fourth 2011, because he wanted to leave this world with firecrackers and rockets a blazing and booming. I miss George. He was a feisty ole bird when he wanted to be but he would put on one of his smirks when I would tease him about needing a nap so the fun George could show up again.
We loved our sports…especially the Red Sox and the Patriots. Sometimes on a visit to his house, George would talk a little bit about December 16, 1944 when he fought in the largest land battle of WWII-the Battle of the Bulge that lasted from December 16, 1944 to January 28, 1945. He held General George S. Patton, Jr., in high esteem as a brilliant military strategist and his men proudly fought and died for him.
George Garon couldn’t bring himself to talk about the depths of his pain at the events that ensued at the Battle of the Bulge, the death of a best friend and the loss of thousands of brave comrades. During a visit to Maine two years ago, Charlie and his siblings were cleaning out George’s house, the home that he built for his dear Lena, when he found an old yellowed dusty box hidden away in a closet with some newspaper clippings and a few military papers and as he rifled through the box, he was astonished to discover that George had been awarded the Purple Heart Medal.
That was the only time that anyone ever knew of George’s meritorious award and for the remainder of his life, he had kept that part of himself hidden away in a yellowed dusty old box in the back of the closet.
This Memorial weekend enjoy the barbecues, parades, and speeches; then kindly thank a fallen soldier with your prayers of gratitude for his/her ultimate sacrifice. Remember those missing in action and the Prisoners of War- be their voice in Augusta and our Nations Capitol to bring them home to rest.
A dedication to all who’ve served. A more enduring light. Do not grudge your brother his rest. He has at last become free, safe and immortal, and ranges joyous through the boundless heavens; he has left this low lying region and has soared upwards to that place which receives in its happy bosom the souls set free from the chains of matter.
Your brother has not lost the light of day, but has obtained a more enduring light. He has not left us, but has gone on before.
We miss your kindness every day, Dot Sanchas! Until then, smile, live in the present and be kind.