This is always a busy week for Quilts of Honor. Normally we have a booth at “Not Forgotten” but we were trying to slow down. Does that really happen for us? I don’t think so.
Last Friday, the 20th, we went to Jackson to Project Thank You opening night and recognized three brothers who served in the Army and Marines, all from the same family. They were so proud to have served. The youngest said he thought everyone should have to serve. I was honored to meet them and very honored to award them quilts.
On Saturday night I had the honor of Playing to the Colors on my trumpet for a football sized flag carried by veterans of the County I live in. We had to march out across the Rodeo Marina – boy walking through that dirt wasn’t easy on these old legs. When the announcer told the crowd we were all veterans, the crowd went nuts, waving flags. It was scary and cool. When I finished we jumped in the car and drove 45 minutes to award 4 more Quilts of Honor to two veterans in the Dawn Riders Band performing at Project Thank You fundraiser. Project Thank You helps veterans and their families with nature-based activities and also sends care packages to our troops. We hadn’t eaten all day and Debbie, Flo and I were real hungry but when we walked in, the Project Thank You crew told us to sit down – we will feed you. The food was fit for a king and we loved it. While there we honored one of the veterans who works with Project Thank you and who had never been thanked. His wife stood by, tears streaming down her face and Michael kept saying, “This means so much.” We then noticed a Vietnam veteran in the crowd. We found out he had served 32 years in the Air Force so off to the car for another quilt. It was quite a night, but a very honorable one.
Then we headed into Memorial Weekend. We started Saturday presenting a quilt to a very deserving young man who served in the National Guard, 4 tours of deployment. His family knew what was happening but told him he was going to see a car show then we showed up and presented him with a quilt. He didn’t want to put his quilt down – he really loved it.
Being Memorial Weekend, I went with Flo to honor Johnny O. Brooks so she could place flowers and a flag at his gravesite. I surprised her and played taps. I’ve always felt they both went through so much. It was quiet and private, but honorable.
Sunday we attended the Not Forgotten event where usually 25,000 people attend to honor fallen warriors and their families. We were to award one quilt to Medal of Honor recipient, Sammy Davis. He told a little of his story and played a beautiful harmonica that he had learned to play in Vietnam. When I presented his quilt, Flo said everyone was saying how beautiful it was. Sammy noticed the quilted Eagles which made me proud.
We will end Memorial Day with me playing taps at our local cemetery with my American Legion Honor Guard.
May we all remember that this weekend is to remember all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Some of those veterans did not fall in the line of duty but died from wounds they suffered for years. May we never forget them.
God bless all of you who continue to help us complete our Mission and a part of the Quilts of Honor family. May we never forget and leave no one behind.