“Let no grave of Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine go unadorned with our nation’s glorious Colors.”

This phrase was quoted from a ceremony for retiring worn and tattered U.S. flags and refers to the placing of bright new flags at the final resting places of our fallen heroes on Memorial Day. Our local veterans groups will be busy on the weekend leading to Memorial Day, seeking out and honoring the graves of veterans in cemeteries across Texas County.

On a sunny Memorial Day in 2005, I visited Pine Lawn here in Houston with a couple of dozen flags in hand. I found that others had been there ahead of me and many graves had been honored already. Still, I spent the afternoon walking past every marker and found 21 veterans who had been overlooked – including one lonely Civil War soldier’s eroded marble tombstone in the northwest corner. I couldn’t read the name; only the regimental number and date. I couldn’t tell if he had been Union or Confederate and it didn’t matter; I placed a flag there.

Folks, though our country is currently wracked with a dangerous pestilence and political strife, we owe it to our fallen heroes to keep their memory alive forever.

Memorial Day: May 25, 2020.

Veterans organizations in Houston:

•American Legion Post 41 meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the meeting hall on the west end of Chilton Oil Company in Houston, (just north of Pizza Hut.) Changes to membership eligibility now allow U.S. veterans of all branches and periods of service to join the American Legion.

•Fleet Reserve Association Branch 364 meets at 2:30 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month at the American Legion Post 41 meeting hall in Houston. The FRA exists to serve all veterans and active-duty members of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard.

Houston resident Robert E. Simpson is a retired U.S. Navy chief electronics technician who served from 1969 to 1990. Email gfjjkaa@gmail.com.

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