Remembering, Honoring, Celebrating
On this Memorial Day weekend, a memorial celebration service was held at the site of the historic Double Springs AME Zion Church in Lewisville, North Carolina. Friends, family and a few remaining former members gathered at the church’s graveyard this past Saturday, May 23, 2009 to remember, honor and celebrate.
They remembered those who had gone before them in the founding of the church and in the life of the church until its final service in 1982. And they recounted the efforts that began over ten years ago to clean up, repair and improve the graveyard. (See the previous post, Graveyard Tour – Double Springs AME Zion, for additional coverage of the church’s history and graveyard renovation efforts.)
They honored the remaining living members of the church. And they celebrated with song, fellowship and good food.
To access the PHOTO GALLERY, as well as to hear a 10-MINUTE AUDIO RECORDING of the service highlights, please continue to the NEXT SECTION. CLICK for more on the Double Springs Memorial Celebration
On a recent morning excursion, I prodded myself to move beyond my usual photo destinations within the township. Even so, I was driving down roads I’ve been on many times over the years. I’d just never actually stopped before and gotten out to explore them.
I finally pulled up next to a field full of gently swaying broom sage, wonderfully lit by the golden morning light. It’s a place that has always caught my eye when I’ve driven by. It just seems to have a presence — whispering to you, if you’re listening. It was calling me that morning, and I was finally heeding.
But as I approached a corner of the field near the road, something unexpected caught my eye. It was a memorial stand of artificial flowers.
A plastic toy motorcycle with a rider on it was lying on the ground nearby. I reached down to pick it up and place it next to the large flat rock at the base of the flower stand. Then I bent down to look more closely at the objects that had been placed on the rock.
The little “I Miss You” bear shown above had been placed in the middle of the rock, and was surrounded by two weathered CDs, a faded pack of Skittles candy, and what looked like a toy spinning top.
I paused for a few moments to take it all in. Who was the deceased, I wondered? Was it indeed someone involved in a fatal motorcycle accident?
And what story are the objects on the rock meant to convey? The Skittles and the spinning top. The CDs containing Brazilian and Cajun-style instrumental music.
Most likely, I’ll never learn the story of the individual who’s memorialized at this site. But what I do know is that somebody loves and misses him.
Please continue to the NEXT SECTION if you’d like to see more photos of this unexpected memorial.
CLICK to see more unexpected memorial photos.
Lewisville resident, Fred O’Brien, sets up a Christmas wreath at the Veterans Memorial at Shallowford Square in Lewisville.
One day last week while driving by Shallowford Square, I spotted two Christmas wreaths that had been placed in the Veterans Memorial section of the Square. I made a mental note to come back later and photograph them for the blog.
When I finally made it back there this past Saturday morning, the timing was such that I met Korean War veteran and Lewisville resident, Fred O’Brien. Because both of the Christmas wreaths had been sitting on the ground — each propped up against a separate memorial — Fred had been compelled to make them more presentable, and he had brought the materials needed to complete the task.
In the above photo, Fred is shown securing one of the Christmas wreaths on a stand to be placed in front of the memorial that contains the “Battle Cross” statue, which is surrounded by commemorative bricks individually inscribed with the names and military service information of scores of veterans. (A previous post, titled Remembering, discusses this particular memorial and also includes a photo gallery showing close-ups of the statue and the bricks.)
While Fred was putting the finishing touches on the first wreath, we were joined by Doug Dampier (who is highlighted in the post titled, Now and Then). Doug and Fred talked a little about their military connections: Fred had served in the Marine Corps in Korea. Doug’s father, Ralph Dampier, had served in the Navy during World War II, and had passed away in March of this year.
As their conversation continued, Doug lent Fred a hand with the placement of the second wreath, which had been propped up against the POW-MIA flag memorial. Since I’ve not addressed this particular memorial before in the blog, I’ll share what’s written on its plaque:
On Behalf of a Grateful Nation and a Proud American Legion: This POW-MIA flag flies to honor those veterans who, in service to this great nation, sacrificed their freedom and their physical and mental well-being as prisoners of war. It also recognizes those who are still missing in action or remain imprisoned. The light at the base of this plaque will burn until all POW-MIAa are accounted for or return home. — Town of Lewisville | Lewisville American Legion Post 522
It strikes me now that placing Christmas wreaths at memorials is no less appropriate than placing them on the doors of our homes. After all, at Christmastime we especially tend to think of loved ones who have passed away, or loved ones who — for whatever reason — will not be with us for the holidays.
Likewise, our veterans and those who are currently serving in our nation’s military are also among those whom we think of with love and gratitude at Christmas. Placing the Christmas wreaths at the Veterans Memorial in Shallowford Square is just one more way to say, “We love you.” and “Thank you.”
Take a look at additional photos from this encounter at the Veterans Memorial in the Fred O’Brien photo gallery.
Commemorative Veterans Bricks
If you or someone you know, would be interested in purchasing a commemorative veterans brick to be placed in honor of or in memory of a veteran, you may contact Fred O’Brien at 945-9510.
Shallowford Square is so beautiful this time of the year. The white Christmas lights on the trees and structures give the Square a magical quality.
Yet in the midst of all the white lights stands a single tree lined with blue lights. A small sign in front of the tree reads as follows:
The color blue is symbolic of peace. By displaying blue lights, we send a dual message — that we support America’s peacekeepers, officers killed in the line of duty and those who continue to work America’s streets, and that we hope the coming year will be a year of peace.
Dedicated in loving memory and honor of
Sergeant Howard J. Plouff II
By Joyce, Brandy and Holly Plouff
The Thin Blue Line is a nationally recognized symbol of Law Enforcement made to represent the thin line that separates law & order and anarchy and those that guard that line.