The Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 2011, issue of American Profile contained a wonderful story entitled: “Saluting Fallen Soldiers.” The article began: “A thousand American flags flutter in the breeze along State Route 157 as a white hearse carrying the remains of Army Spc. Randall Dalton enters Glen Carbon, Ill. (pop. 12,934), escorted by a mile-long procession of rumbling motorcycles and shiny police vehicles.” T
Larry Eckhardt, age 55, stood with his hand over his heart as the hearse pulled into the cemetery. He had driven 225 miles in order to place the thousand flags along the route. He has been performing this kind of service for over five years, assisted by individuals as well as by members of various organizations, such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Boy Scouts of America.
He doesn’t charge for his service, of course, but he does gratefully accept all donations to help defray the expenses incurred during his travels throughout his home state of Illinois. He is also appreciative of the volunteers who help him plant the flags along the routes the funeral processions follow.
He plans to continue using this means to salute the fallen soldiers. “This,” he says, “is my feeble attempt to say thank you to every soldier who has ever served and fought to protect the freedoms that I have.”
May we, too, find a way to express our gratitude to those who have served. Even if we can’t do something on a grand scale, we can all do something! Even the smallest gesture of gratitude is meaningful.
© 2011 by Johnnie Ann Burgess Gaskill. The photos were taken in Minnesota and Georgia, and are NOT the ones that accompanied the American Profile article mentioned in this post.