Eleven hardy souls set out Thursday (June 4) to view the Veterans Wall of Honor in beautiful Bella Vista, Arkansas. Pastor Wade took the wheel and like a true chaperon, ignored complaints of seat belts that failed to match up. Actually, it is amazing at what can be found in a church van after teens have recently used it for an outing!
Safely arriving and walking a short distance, marveling at the sight and sound of water rushing through narrow passages, converging with other waterways to form a greater stream, we arrived at the simple, wonderfully designed, memorial to those who have served in our military through the years. Thanks to the Garden Club for attractive flower beds and VFW for their input.
I like to begin in the beginning and go in order so I started with the history displayed of all military action which has involved the United States. Beginning with the Revolutionary War and concluding with military conflict of recent years, I was especially fascinated by reading of The Alamo and the Civil War. It was not a thorough record but simply a chart of the where those events occurred on a time line.
Soon everyone was branching out looking at or looking for particular names etched into the bricks. The names were not alphabetical nor were they chronological. But every once in a while someone would find a name they knew. It was especially interesting to find names of Temple Baptist Church members, now deceased, that contributed to our nation’s welfare. George Sawyer, who had several ships shot out from under him as he served in the South Pacific during World War II; Keith Eaton, who served honorably; and the father of one in our group. Steve Penn’s father, Floyd Penn, was remembered with two Purple Hearts and three bronze stars.
As a veteran of the Air Force (peacetime) I am deeply appreciative of the sacrifices of those who have served during both war and peace times. I consider myself to be patriotic and my throat gets tight when I hear the Star Spangled Banner, see the flag flying, and observe the sharp dress and maneuvers of military personnel. It may sound cliché but I do believe that freedom isn’t free. Nearly all of us have someone, in our family lineage or some close to us, who have paid the ultimate price that our nation would survive in a world of violence.
My deepest appreciation goes to Jesus Christ, Son of God, my Savior and Redeemer. He set aside his royal garments in heaven, came to this earth as a babe in Bethlehem’s manger, walked this earth and endured every temptation as is common to man (yet without sin), suffered the rejection of the Cross yet rose from the grave. Because of His ultimate sacrifice, we may all enter into a relationship with Him and discover the assurance of eternal life.
Our tour ended after a great meal at a landmark restaurant in Bentonville, then returning to claim our cars on the church parking lot.