By TAMMI KATE LEDFORD
Dalhart residents gathered at the Gazebo in Memorial Park Cemetery Monday, May 27 in observance of Memorial Day. The wind was light and had flags standing at attention. The XIT Rangers, mounted on horseback, displayed flags representing each branch of the United States Armed Forces. Judge Ron Enns served as the emcee for the service. Members of the United States of America Armed Forces that were present for the service were recognized by the assembly.
Central United Methodist Church Pastor Steve Patterson led the audience in prayer and provided the message for the service. Patterson contends that Memorial Day is not only a day off from work, it’s more than a day to picnic with friends, it’s more than a day of stores sales and shopping. Memorial Day is the special day set aside for all Americans to reflect on the many sacrifices and the great achievements of the brave men and women who defended our freedom. “Scripture tell us there is no greater love that a man laying down his life for his friends,” Patterson spoke to a well attended solemn crowd.
Patterson read a letter written by Sgt. William Stacey. Stacey was a 23 year old United States Marine from Redding, California serving his fourth deployment to Afghanistan. The young brave soldier was killed by an IED blast while walking patrol. Stacey wrote this letter in the event he died while serving his country, as many soldiers often do.
My death did not change the world; it may be tough for you to justify its meaning at all. But there is greater meaning to it.
Perhaps I did not change the world. But there will be a child who will live because men left the security they enjoy in their home country to come to his.
And this child will learn in the new schools that have been built.
He will walk his streets not worried about whether or not his leader’s henchmen are going to come and kidnap him.
He will grow into a fine man who will pursue every opportunity his heart could desire.
He will have the gift of freedom, which I have enjoyed for so long.
If my life buys the safety of a child who will one day change this world, then I know that it was all worth it!
Signed Sergeant William Stacey,
United States Marine Corps
A recent graduate of Texas Tech, Bryce Howard honored the day with music. Howard played the guitar as his clear and soulful voice led the attendees in a well loved patriotic favorite, America the Beautiful.
Over 800 flags had been placed by the Dalhart Chapter of the Elks. “As you leave here today call out each name as you pass by each flag,” Patterson requested. These flags represent a small fraction of the men and women that served this country and our precious right to freedom.
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