The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
—John L. Logan
Pap raised my brothers and me with a healthy dose of thankfulness for the soldiers who stood in the gap and sacrificed for our freedom. He was a Marine during the mid to late 50s, but never served in a direct combat situation. He’d be the first to tell you his time in the armed services was easy compared to those who did see combat, not to mention those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Pap spent a large portion of his service in South America on a ship. I’ve always had horrible motion sickness. Pap told me he had it too…until he was put on the first ship. He said after a few days of misery his body finally adjusted to the motion and he never had to worry about getting motion sickness again.
Over the years Pap shared many a story about his time in service with us, but there were a couple that he never talked about until the year preceding his death.
In the month’s leading up to death Pap shared two heart wrenching stories with Granny about fellow Marines who never made it home like Pap did. I think Pap felt like he had to share the stories of the soldiers he had silently mourned for so many years before he left his ole world.
I’m positive the patriotism Pap instilled in each of his children and grandchildren came from his great respect to every soldier who served; especially those who perished fighting valiantly in battle or while going about their daily service duties giving the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
Pap and Paul learned the song “Mansions of the Lord” from the movie We Were Soldiers. The song plays as the credits roll, so a lot of folks missed the song even if they watched the movie. We’ve always called the song Fallen Soldiers. It was only as I researched it’s history that I learned the real title.
Mansions of the Lord (music by Nick Glennie-Smith/Words by Randall Wallace)
To fallen soldiers that are seen
Where no rockets fly nor bullets sing
Our broken brothers let us bring
To the mansions of the Lord
No more weeping of our fight
No more searching through the night
Trust in Jesus name eternal life
In the mansions of the Lord
Where no mothers cry nor children weep
We shall stand and guard though the Angels see
All through the ages bravely keep
The mansions of the Lord
The mansions of the Lord