Memorial Day - 2023

Memorial Day - 2023

Colonel's Blog, Part II

I've decided to re-invigorate my efforts to add new posts to this blog. It’s been a while since I updated it; I’ve missed writing and missed the opportunity to introduce you to the wonderful people I meet and the experiences I get to have working in the senior industry.

As I indicated in my first blog, a Captain’s Log is a record of the significant daily activities of a ship; in Star Trek, Captain Kirk would add his general thoughts and reflections as the Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise. I’m not a Navy Captain but am the Air Force equivalent, so I’m using this vehicle to record my observations and reflections as they relate to my position as the owner of Assisted Living Locators - Nashville.  I hope you find it interesting and perhaps learn something new about the world of senior living.

Memorial Day 2023

My first blog post two years ago was about Memorial Day, and again this special day has inspired me to share my thoughts. I currently serve as the Commander of American Legion Post 22 in Franklin, and as the Chaplain of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4893.  Thus, my Memorial Day weekend is always very busy. 

Decorating Heroes' Final Resting Place

Last Friday, several members of my American Legion and VFW posts and I, along with other volunteers, placed flags on the final resting place of the servicemen and women in Franklin Memorial Gardens. It felt good to serve locally with friends of mine in the Veteran community. I know throughout this Memorial Day weekend families will visit their loved ones’ gravesites and see our flag waiving proudly. I hope it gives them some peace and comfort.

Poppies to Remind Us

On Saturday, I passed poppies out at the Westhaven Kroger in Franklin and accepted donations for my American Legion Post’s Boys and Girls State fund. Raising money for this worthy cause is satisfying, though the most rewarding feeling came from connecting with patrons who wanted to tell me about their grandfather, mother, uncle or daughter who served our country. They were all so proud.

The most significant connection I made, however, was different. A gentleman wearing a hat bearing the insignia of his Army unit in Vietnam approached our table and told me it was a tough weekend for him. He recounted how he lost a friend on his third day in Vietnam, and later that year lost over a dozen men in his unit during the Tet Offensive. You could tell the experience still impacted him greatly. I thanked him for serving us, and for telling me his story. Earlier this month I arranged for a Special Forces Soldier to address the American Legion post for which I’m the Commander. Tilt, whom I met a year or so ago at the Franklin VFW, captivated us with his experiences in the jungles of Southeast Asia, and though his is among the most upbeat and positive men I’ve had the pleasure to meet, I know what he went through had to have been tough, and probably still is on some days. I pray for peace for these two and those who have similar experiences, and for some level of understanding and appreciation of that burden for the rest of us.

Five Points on Memorial Day, Franklin, Tennessee

Yesterday was the Memorial Day ceremony in downtown Franklin, and I attended it with my Son Riley and Daughter Karina. It was similar to other ceremonies I’ve attended over the years, but this one was different in one tremendously significant way: next year Riley will be a fellow Vet, and, if he achieves his goal, his experiences will certainly be more daunting than mine were. Riley leaves for Navy basic training in August and he is in the pre-special operations track. He is committed to becoming a Navy SEAL, and I am confident he will accomplish his goal. Naturally I have some trepidation, as the life of a Navy SEAL is much more difficult than that of an Air Force lawyer’s. My admiration for this young man, however, outweighs my discomfort tenfold, and I know that Riley is just the kind of individual this country needs as a SEAL.  He has charted his own path, as all of our children must, and I am so proud:  proud he has chosen to serve, and proud he's challenging himself in the most difficult way possible. Simply put, I am proud beyond measure to be this young man’s Father.

Time Well-Spent With Living Heroes Jim and Jim

This writing is supposed to be about my thoughts and interactions with seniors, or on the senior industry, or on the latest and greatest in assisted living, independent living, memory care, or skilled nursing homes. Other than the fact most of the participants of the events I attended were seniors, I must admit this post was more focused on being a Veteran, and my Son being a future Veteran, so I’ll close with a couple of joyful experiences I had with a couple of seniors this past weekend.

On Saturday after handing out poppies I stopped by to see my friend Jim, who is basically the "Godfather" of American Legion Post 22, at his independent living apartment at Brookdale Franklin. Jim served as either the Commander or the Adjutant of Post 22 for decades. Jim has been a little under weather so he was not able to attend the events he has kept flourishing for so many years. While it was good to sit and talk with just the two of us, I know he’d rather be out handing out poppies and meeting our fellow Vets. I’m praying he’ll be well enough in November for the Veterans Day festivities.

That night, I was honored to sing Karaoke at the Franklin VFW with the "Godfather" of VFW Post 4893. Jim, a different Jim, is our Post Judge Advocate. He has been instrumental in keeping Post 4893 alive over the years, and running well in the most recent years. Before he left that night, Jim sang a love song to his bride with whom he has spent his lifetime. It was a touching moment.

Both Jims served their country decades ago, but they continue to serve as they’ve retired and beyond. I am honored to be able to work with them in the Legion and VFW.

Please keep the families of our fallen Servicemembers in your prayers this week and beyond, both the ones we lost overseas and the ones we've lost and continue to lose here at home after the initial battle was over. Additionally, pray for the ones who struggle with the wounds they received serving our fine country and for the loved ones who care for them.

God bless.

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