Memorial Day Remembrance Held in Plymouth
On a hot and breezy day Thursday, the mood was solemn during Plymouth’s Memorial Day tribute. It was held before the actual holiday, but the feeling and emotion was real.
“I get very emotional about it,” said Jim Heimerl, a Vietnam vet.
“This is one of the most important days for me,” said Daryl Acker, an Iraq war vet. “It’s a chance for me to give back to my friends.”
The tribute took place at the Plymouth Veterans Memorial. It was about gratitude. A way to express thanks to soldiers who never made it back from war.
“Memorial Day,” Heimerl said, “is a day of remembrance.”
The vets message was simple, remember the soldiers who never came back.
“I put my flags up,” Heimerl said. “I take them down late Monday night when it gets dark and I just look up in the air and say ‘you’re not forgotten.'”
“Every time I think of Memorial Day, I have some friends that I call and say ‘thank you,'” Acker said. “I have some friends who didn’t come home.”
Heimerl is one of the lucky ones. In Vietnam he went Missing in Action, but was eventually found and made his way home.
“I was just blessed,” Heimerl said. “I was wounded three different times. I’m all bolted together and I’m still here.”
Memorial Day is supposed to be a sacred holiday, but some vets think the power of its message has been lost.
“I think it’s been blurred,” Heimerl said. “It’s not a day of celebration to me. You can enjoy your family, you can go out, you can do things. But take a few minutes over Memorial Weekend and remember those in sacrifice.”
“There’s nothing wrong with having a barbecue,” Acker said. “There’s nothing wrong being with family. I think that’s key. It’s just remembering those and the freedoms that you have is the reason why that you have these opportunities. That’s the key part of Memorial Day.”
From the color guard, to the Pledge of Allegiance, to the patriotic tunes, the day had a special simplicity to it.
“It’s sad,” Acker said. “But it’s one of those things if people know you care, it means a lot.”