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Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day and Troop 601: Remembering Those Before Us

Ongoing beautification of New Santa Fe Cemetery had it ready
for visitors for Memorial Day
With the signs of spring comes renewal. The ground at the end of the wintery months is a hard surface with cracks crevassing, the brown tones awaiting the warmer weather and longer daylight.

Kansas City is beautiful partially because of the four seasons. We witness the death and regeneration of the earth. Although it has been especially wet this spring, the rains have transformed the cracked ground into lush, green grass and rejuvenated the landscape.

A bench was added in front of the flagpole
As Americans, we sometimes just look at Memorial Day as a kickoff of the summer season. People throw on the bathing suits and the burgers. They anchor the American flag on their houses and crack open a beer.  This Memorial Day, I took a moment and counted my blessings.

We are SO lucky we are to live where we do.

I, myself am the daughter of a veteran of the Persian Gulf War. Both my grandfathers were veterans, one of World War II and the other of both WWII and the Korean War. Sometimes we often forget that we are the home of the free due to the sacrifices of these individuals from the past and present.

Recently, I saw a post on social media that highlighted how Americans just like us don't really know the meaning of Memorial Day.

I guess they thought it was for burgers and beer. Oh, and "Merica."

Whoever coined that phrase is lighting off Black Cat's right now.

Today I wish to connect a recent project completed by some young men and its importance to Memorial Day- and every day.

On May 14th,  Troop 601 Eagle Scouts from St. Thomas More sacrificed a beautiful Saturday morning to lend a helping hand to one of my favorite landmarks of Kansas City- The New Santa Fe Cemetery.

Troop 601 working at the cemetery-
(L-R) David Thurlo, Patrick Mullen, CJ Eddy, Andy Bauer
Led by sponsors Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Eddy, the young men cut down trees and brush, touched up the wrought iron fence, set a bench and reset the headstone for Dabney Lipscomb, founder of the town of New Santa Fe. Their hard work showcases how, I believe, the majority of Americans do respect the importance of remembering those of the past.

Efforts in the small neighborhood communities that collectively make up the Kansas City metropolitan area are imperative. Anyone who has taken the time in the past twenty years to take a stroll around New Santa Fe Cemetery is fully aware of the improvements that have been made. When I was a little girl, there was no fence- no marker- no true landscaping.

The fence was touched up and the
brush/trees trimmed
For that, I would like to personally thank the New Santa Fe Cemetery Association for their ongoing efforts to maintain the grounds of the cemetery. The labors of Troop 601 for their support of this organization is so important; as more and more of the relatives of those buried at New Santa Fe pass on, the more vital it will be for others, like these selfless boys and other members of the community, to continue to honor those that call the New Santa Fe Cemetery their final resting place.

I was humbled when a man, 86 years young, came into my part time bartending job and sat down in front of me. He proudly sported his "WWII Vet" hat, nursed an iced tea and made small talk with people around him. A couple at the other end of the bar slyly pointed at him and whispered to me, "We want to buy him his dinner."

I've seen this happen before, but for some reason - maybe because I know this gentleman veteran personally - this hit me even harder. I nodded and asked if they wanted him to know who bought his spaghetti and meatballs.

"No. He doesn't need to know it was us. Just tell him thank you for his service."

It's kind acts such as those highlighted in this blog that make America remember- who remind us we must not forget of the sacrifices of others on behalf of our freedom.


Below are just a few of the veterans whose final resting place is the cemetery.

There are heroes all around us - men and women who sacrificed their lives for others. Please take a moment and thank those who continue to honor our country, whether you're passing them in the grocery store, waiting with them in line, or sauntering past their headstone in a cemetery.