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On The Road With Doug: Memorial Day Weekend

This year I did something different for Memorial Day weekend. I took the kids to each of the major cemeteries in the area, to show them how different cemeteries show commitment to remembering those who proudly served our country.

I am constantly amazed how each cemetery continues to have great volunteers put flags out at each cemetery. The last several years, my family has volunteered at Crown Hill Cemetery in Sedalia, but we weren’t able to make it this year, but I applaud those who did.

We stopped at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Sedalia, where I showed them the grave of George Whiteman. Whiteman is considered the first aviator to die in World War 2, after trying to get his plane into the air after the sneak attack in Pearl Harbor. He and his family are buried together there. He is also the namesake for Whiteman Air Force Base.

We also went to the Knob Noster Cemetery. This is the cemetery from my hometown of Knob Noster. I paid a visit to some of the people I knew were buried there. My kids started asking about some of the people that I knew. I stopped at the plot of Robert Endel, who died shortly  after I graduated at Knob Noster in 1996. I have to say that I remember my teachers very well. He was a great one to say the least. I remember he cared very deeply about his students, wanted to see them prosper. I recall each year I’d go back to the Knob Middle School, just talking with him about how things were going. I swear that the whole sixth grade teachers wing that year were some of the most close nit ones around. They never seemed to forget a face. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 25 years since I was his student.

My kids started asking about, some of the older gravestones. I’ve never realized how many Civil War Vets were buried in this area, but I was really impressed by Warrensburg’s Sunset Hill Cemetery. It has been a long time since I drove through the whole cemetery there, but I hope you take the time and stop close to the office. There is a whole section dedicated to Union Soldiers. There is a giant Civil War statue, with a fenced in area that have upside down cannons going into the ground. I’d say there were 50 to 100 soldiers that are buried there.

We then wrapped up our tours of cemeteries at Crown Hill in Sedalia with their ceremony.

I was glad to see people going remember those who served with a flag, but also those that went to check on gravestones or spent the day remembering those who are no longer with us. There was one family that I saw, that was a young lady with two or three kids in tow that placed yellow roses on specific graves. There was another family that I saw, redoing the garden area above the headstone, there was a group of kids that were skipping stones in a pond. There were others who were putting flags of groups and organizations that had special meaning to those who passed on. I can recall each time my dad I would go to Detroit, we’d check on family plots and fix them up if a gravestone went into the ground or if grass covered the headstone. I did the same with my wife’s family at her grandfather’s burial location. We should take the time to check on that from time to time.

Regardless, it seemed to me that this Memorial Day, the activity in cemeteries was a little more than I have seen before. Memorial Day is a day to remember. I may not have any family buried in these cemeteries, but the history is there. I hope that I was able to show my kids that no matter how old we get, no matter where we go, take the time to remember those who have gone before us. I hope each of you had a great Memorial Day weekend.

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