At the conclusion of brief Memorial Day Ceremony held Monday at G.A.R. Cemetery, an elderly woman made her way to Robert Springer and said “thank you” as she held back her tears.
“Why, you are very welcome,” Springer said, extending his hand to the woman.
Springer, a Vietnam veteran and reconnaissance officer who served with the Army's First Cavalry Division, was the guest speaker at Monday's Memorial Day event. He shared poetry inspired by his soldiering experiences, including a tribute to a fallen comrade and a piece about the heroism of a war-time doctor.
“We had a ‘Doc' in our family,” the woman said.
Springer's poems were prefaced with a charge to the crowd to help revitalize a nation that he fears will soon be negligent in its duty to honor the men and women who have died in its service.
He expressed his concerns that the purpose of Memorial Day will soon be lost to a national public that views it as only a “three-day weekend that starts the summer.”
“We must endeavor to remember the men and women who died in service to this country,” Springer said. “We must endeavor to teach and we must endeavor to instill a spirit of patriotism in our children and our children's children.”
At the conclusion of Springer's comments, representatives of the local Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion organizations placed memorial wreaths beneath an American flag drawn at half-staff.
A 21-gun salute was fired and a moment of silence was noted in honor of the prisoners of war and those missing in action.
A trumpter sounded “Taps” just prior to the conclusion of the ceremony, stirring the emotions of many, including the elderly woman who approached Springer.
She expressed her thanks again before turning to leave. She declined to identify herself, saying only that, on this day, her name was not important.”