Memorial Day, 2011

Monday May 30th, 2011: The Chappell Hill Cultural Heritage Group held its 3rd Annual Memorial Day Tribute at the Chappell Hill Community Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Washington County, TX, where visitors and locals joined together to honor all veterans and especially those from our community who paid the ultimate price for the freedom of our country. Speeches were made, a moment of silence obseved, musical tributes, and a 21 gun-salute served as an important part in commemoration of this holiday.

One of the most inspiring activities of this celebration came from local 4-6 grade students who shared with the audience their understanding of what Memorial Day means to them. Please take a moment to read their story and leave an encouraging comment.
  •  "Pen and Patriotism" Memorial Day Essay -2011 
  • "What Memorial Day Means to Me"
    My name is Carl Witchet II. I am a 5th grader and a member of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Chappell Hill, Texas.
    Memorial Day! One of the holidays that comes right before school ends and summer begins! That is what I used to be excited about. Now, I have been given a greater meaning of what this day, called "Memorial Day" really means. It is a day that has been set aside to honor all of the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom, for our country. For some years now, my family and I would go to the cemetery to stand over a piece of land with a stone at the top of it. While standing there in silence, no one talking and watching my dad with tears in his eyes, I would wonder, "What are we doing here, why do we have to come to such a place? After having my parents explain to me that my grandfather,
    Fred Douglas Witchet, was buried there and my family goes there to place flowers on his gravesite to remember him as a husband, [and]as a father who left home to serve in the military, fighting for his country and his family. The reason that he is buried there is not because of his age, but because he was killed in the Vietnam War. My grandfather served in 3 wars, World War II, Korean War and the Vietnam War. Now I understand why my father had tears in his eyes. He was 4 years old when the news came back to the Witchet household that my grandfather would not be coming home. My grandmother was on her own to raise 4 (four) children alone. But with God's help, she has done a great job! My grandfather's company was recognized in the the movie, "We are Soldiers", a movie that Mel Gibson produced. It is such an honor to be able to read the credits of the movie and see his name rolling across the screen.
    I am blessed to have my other grandfather, Virgil Wilburn, survive the Korean War and was able to come home to his family. I look up to him because he is a great example and role model for me to follow.
    Memorial Day, along with Veteran's Day has great meaning for me in my heart because of the special people that God has placed in my life. And for this, I am proud! Again, my name is Carl Witchet II.   -
     "What Memorial Day Means To Me"
    My name is Mya Lewis- 4th grade
    The History of Memorial Day started in  1882. Memorial Day is a time to remember many soldiers who fought and died for this country.  
    Memorial Day is a special time for me because I have had two soldiers in my family, who fought a good fight for our country. The first soldier's name is Freddie Lewis and the second soldier's name is  Sandy Newsome Sr. Although I did not have the opportunity to meet these two brave soldiers in My family, I have heard a few stories about each one.
    Memorial Day is about the soldiers who lost their lives in battle; and is about remembering those lost soldiers. It is also about the soldiers [ those] who fought in battle and are still living to tell their stories. And I think it is about remembering individuals who have come together as one, to protect a great country and the citizens of this great country. I am 10 years and I enjoy being part of a land that is free. The people who lost their lives in 9/11 were individuals in the United States and we must remember them. The people, who lost their livies and homes, and famly members in the Alabama tornado, we must remember them. I have said all this to say that when we have problems and situations in this country, our soldiers do what is necessary to do to try and help the communities therefore we must remember the living as well as the died. When you see a soldier, someone who has fought for our country, walk up to them and just say, "Thank you"!
    Let's take this time and remember each other as well. Let's help that wounded soldier that is hungry, let's help our fellow neighbor who is without shelter, and let's continue to build our community and build our nation and May God Bless America. My name is Mya Lewis, a 4th grader. -
    "What Memorial Day Means To Me"
    My name is Jadson Little-Perez -4th grade.
    Memorial Day is a day set aside to Honor All Brave Veterans. women and men, the men who have gone on, the ones who are still here but active; also the ones still serving the country for our protection.
    Many parts of the country celebrate Memorial Day with parades, lots of good food and fun in Honor of the brave soldiers who risk their lives to keep us safe, this gives us the opportunity to show our appreciation, and to say, thank you!
    On April 21, 1967, my uncle Edward Newsome was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served as a Paratrooper in the 173rd Airborne Brigade as Infantry Sergeant; fought in combat in the Viet Nam War from 1968 to 1969.
    Uncle Edward was a decorated Army Veteran, he received awards; including Bronze Star, he was an expert rifleman. He won The Presidental Citation, also [was] given a Viet Nam Service Medal, and an Combat Infantry Badge for Squad Leader. On April 13th, 1969 Uncle Ed was Honorably Discharged.
    One day I would like to participate in the Military as a medical doctor.
    On June 19th, my uncle John Newsome volunteered for the U.S. Navy. He went to Boot Camp in Orlando, Flordia for 4 weeks, then transferred to Oakland, California. He served as Boat Mate, and did many other jobs aboard the U.S. Destroyer, DD-218. He also was Honorably Discharged in July, 1975.
    In 1979, straight out of High School, my uncle Oscar Newsome volunteered for the U.S. Army. He completed 6 weels of basic training in Augusta, Georgia, then was transferred to Fort Hood, Texas and trained in 72-ECHO. Telecommunications. He also trained in Frankfurt, Germany for 1 1/2 years, then was transferred back to Fort Hood, Texas. He received a General Discharge in August, 1984.
    To me, Memorial Day means honoring all brave women and men who risk their lives to protect our country.  -
    What Memorial Day Means To Me
    My name is Tashy Re McDonald, 4th grade.   Ms. McDonald will display her essay within the next few weeks. Please be patient. Thank you.
    These outstanding students participated in our 2nd annual student essay writing competition, "What Memorial Day Means To Me." Their heart felt words revealed that they're among the 28% of Americans who know the meaning Of Memorial Day. With respect, honor and courage these students stood on stage and read with conviction to the audience what Memorial Day meant to them. 
    Their personal stories raised awareness of the patriotic legacy of those who served our country and call this historic community home.

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