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MORE to Celebrate in Central- Blue Star Memorial

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By Mia Freneaux

Standing under the shade trees in the Port Hudson National Cemetery on a beautiful, sun-drenched day, it is easy to relegate the row upon row of headstones to mere background.  Maybe it is the uniformity of the headstones that takes away individualism, maybe it is the mind refusing to acknowledge images of death.  Whatever it is, the reaction underscores the importance of last Saturday’s ceremony where the Blue Star Mothers’ monument to “Heroes of the War on Terrorism” was unveiled.  6 fallen soldiers buried at Port Hudson were recognized that day; 6 out of the 144 Louisiana has lost since the war began.  Before an audience composed of VFW Post 502, Women Vets of Louisiana, The Patriot Guard, the Purple Heart Association, and many others, family members shared memories and moments out of too-brief lives, the dreams never realized, the families never raised.  They shared stories of those who begged to go back into combat after being wounded, those who were killed 4 month’s short of retirement, those who wrote of their hopes of being a parent.  They shared words of wisdom: “Don’t wait to tell someone you love and appreciate them;” “Cherish the moment.”  While grief was evident, however, every family member there showed no sign of bitterness, just gratitude for the life of one they love, and pride in the dedication their son, brother, uncle, sister demonstrated to an IDEAL.  That day, it was easy to remember that regardless of religion, ethic background, or political views, we are all AMERICANS. 

 After Blue Star Mother Lorie Speer sand the National Anthem and Chaplain Cherry Blackwell opened with prayer, with Mayor Watts from Central, Mayor Martinez from Zachary, Pt Hudson Director Rex Kern, Deputy Secretary of Veteran Affairs David LaCerte, local DAR branch officer Laurel Olssen, Ft. Polk representative Allison Davis, U.S.S. Kidd Executive Director Maury Drummond, and WAFB’s Jacques Doucet looking on, Kathy Rushing shared her vision with the audience: how she wished to place something at the cemetery to recognize the sacrifice of her son and so many others, how she went to Mac Watts with her vision, and how he embraced it and gave her the wherewithal to realize it.  She later shared about her son, Corporal Jared Crouch, killed in action in Iraq on June 2, 2007 and one of Central’s own. 

Kathy reminds all of us living in the City of Central of what we have to be grateful for.  We owe her a debt of gratitude for her hard work and dedication, because each of these soldiers is not just a name on a headstone, they are our neighbors, our friends, our families, and in their loss a piece of the fabric of our lives is gone.   They deserve to be remembered and venerated as the heroes they are.  Someone once said that there is hope for a nation as long as brave men and women can be found willing to lay down their lives for it.  As the members of the Blue Star Mothers closed the ceremony by reading the names of the 144 soldiers Louisiana has lost, it was good to remember that.

1 Comment

  1. Cindy

    August 26, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    I was also at the Memorial. It was very touching. I was proud that Central was a part of it. Thanks

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