“The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
~ General John A. Logan ~
Proclaimed on May 5, 1868
This year, we will mark Memorial Day, on May 27, the last Monday of May. The original date for Decoration Day, the holiday which has evolved into Memorial Day, was initially chosen because it was not the anniversary of any major conflict, during the American Civil War; it was the dead of the Civil War, which Decoration Day was meant to honor.
Today, we take time to remember all those who have died, while serving our country, regardless of the conflict.
Recently, while stopping in Mexico City Beach, to check up on their progress, after surviving Hurricane Michael, I came across this small pavilion, which had sustained damage, during the storm; but was still standing, it reminded me of our veterans who have faced challenges, but continue the good fight.
I was initially drawn to the words, of course, “all gave some, some gave all”, it is such a powerful phrase; especially as we mark Memorial Day. All of the men and women who have served in the Armed forces have indeed given, and they should be remembered and appreciated; but it is also important to honor those who have given their lives fighting to defend and protect you and me.
May God bless all of our service people, and comfort those who have lost loved ones in the military.
The plaque on the side featured Staff Sargent Clifford C. Sims, a Medal of Honor recipient:
“Sims was born Clifford Pittman but was orphaned at an early age. After briefly living in an abandoned school bus and with relatives, he was adopted by James and Irene Sims, at the age of 13. He met his later wife, Mary, at George Washington High School and joined the Army from Jacksonville, Florida shortly after graduation. He moved to Fort Bragg and married Mary on December 25, 1961.
In August 1967, Sims moved to Fort Campbell, Kentucky to join Company D, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. By February 21, 1968 he was serving as a Staff Sergeant. On that day, during an engagement with enemy forces near Huế in the Republic of Vietnam, Sims threw himself onto a triggered trap device. He was killed in the ensuing explosion, but was successful in protecting the members of his squad.
Official eye witness reports of the incident that:
‘Before the squad reached their destination they encountered a bunker, and SSG Sims took it upon himself to see if it was empty. As he moved forward a booby trap went off and everybody froze. But SSG Sims shouted a warning then dove on it, fatally wounding him. However he had covered the blast with his own body, and thus saved the lives of those in the area.’[Sims] also saved his squad by moving them quickly out of the way of a house filled with ammunition which was burning. Just as he got his men away the house blew up. Then on moving toward a bunker a booby trap was set off, and Sgt. Sims yelled for everybody to get back, but before they could he threw himself on the device taking the entire blast to save his squad from complete disaster. In so doing he gave up his own life. Each and every man of the 2nd Squad owes his very life to this man, Staff Sergeant Clifford C. Sims.
Clifford Sims, aged 25 at his death, was buried in Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola, Florida”