Service to the Armed Forces volunteers keep busy this weekend

The following is written by Howard Hanlon, who works with American Red Cross Emergency Services

For more pictures, click here.

What a busy few days leading up to yesterday Memorial Day. With volunteers and staff from all over the Carolina Piedmont Region, we attended and helped at a two different events this past weekend.

The first was just an awesome honor. With the Patriot Guard, Rolling Thunder and the Blue Star Mothers, we had the privilege of being part of the team escorting the Rolling Tribute Wall from mile marker 136 on Interstate 40 to the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  The wall is a replica of the Vietnam wall in Washington, D.C., and is spectacular.

The display pays tribute to all of our fallen heroes from every war since World War I as well as honors the police and firefighters who have lost their lives protecting this country. 

I had the honor of watching over the memorial early Sunday morning with a group from the other organizations. I noticed as I walked the memorial that on five display boards were gold dog tags with the names of the men and women who have lost their lives, most recently, in the global war on terror. It really hit home when someone told me the last board only covered those lost through March of this year and soon they would need to start a sixth board. 

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I stood quietly reflecting on what I was looking at and remembered back to Thursday when the Red Cross participated in the unveiling of the new 2011 Freightliner rolling tribute truck at Richards Coffee shop in Mooresville.

This truck is a tribute to all veterans and travels the country all year. I met vets from all wars heard their stories, saw their pride and saw what they fought for; a young family named Hinson. 

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I met them as their two young children, Will and Grace, climbed around on the family’s 1945 Willy’s jeep. It made me realize why these vets and our current military and responders work so hard to protect us. It’s the smile on a child’s face, the gleam and innocence in their eyes and the laughter as they play. To all military personnel and their families especially those that have lost loved ones THANK YOU for giving us the freedom to see a child’s smiling face.

If you have read this take a minute to say thank you to all that serve military, firefighters and police officers. Let them know how much their service is appreciated each and every day. To the Red Cross volunteers who support our military families and at events like this – thank you. 

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