At the start of the ceremony, Legion Commander John Lawless asked those in attendance to look around their front yard at the Garden of Remembrance. “You see row upon row of crosses and stars of David,” he said. “Each one represents a post member who has passed on.
“Every year before Memorial Day, the members of our post with the assistance of the Air Force Junior ROTC spend many hours assembling our memorial garden,” he continued. “Sadly, each year our garden grows. Four new markers will be added this year alone.”
“I look around at all of you and I see family,” said Loretta Phillips, president of the Woman’s Auxiliary. “We are all family. And the United States of America is our home. We should be very proud of our servicemen who give the extreme sacrifice and lay down their lives for all of us.”
It was a beautiful service with the laying of wreaths followed by the playing of “Taps” and the raising of the flag. Afterwards, everyone was invited inside the Legion Hall for refreshments. Here, residents and veterans enjoyed each other's company, a brief celebration before we all went our separate ways to spend the rest of the holiday with other friends and family.
Over the past few years, I have heard many residents lament the fact that Woodhaven has changed, that it is not the way it used to be. Residents have told me that they wish things could be the way they used to be, back in the Good Old Days.
To residents in Woodhaven who feel that way, I have to ask: Where were you? Where were you on Monday at 10:30 in the morning that was so important that you couldn’t spend 30 minutes honoring those from our community who served and fought and died for our country?
Here was a beautiful, traditional ceremony – one that has been taking place in this community for well over a half-century – and out of nearly 40,000 people who live in Woodhaven, just a few dozen showed up to pay their respects.
We can do better.
And we won’t have to wait for long for an opportunity to do so. On Saturday, June 14, on Flag Day, the residents of Woodhaven are throwing a “thank you” barbecue for the men and women of the American Legion.
The barbecue starts at noon and goes until 4 p.m. There will be hot dogs and hamburgers and we can show our appreciation to our veterans by showing up to say “thank you.”
The Good Old Days are still here. You just have to look a bit harder for them.