Barry Hitchcock column

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 25, 2007

Guest column by Barry James Hitchcock
Soldier’s death, father’s funeral brought increased regard for Memorial Day

For many, celebrating Memorial Day means vacations, cooking on the “barbie,” visiting with friends and family, and maybe just catching up on rest. Have you thought about how you will spend it?

This will be the second year for me to not just celebrate, but to give thanks to those that this day was meant for. I will catch up on some work and rest, visit with family and friends, may even watch a few baseball games, but the most important thing, will be, visiting the resting place of a friend, brother, and my only son’s Godfather. His name is, Sgt. Audrey Daron Lunsford.

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There hasn’t been a day since his untimely death that I haven’t thought about or missed him. I see his smile, courage and sparkling eyes, not to mention, hearing his laugh, and the voice asking me what I’m cooking, whether it be deer steaks or my famous two-pound “Brontosaurus” burgers.

Hearing my son, Colton, asking me when will we see Daron or telling me he misses him, my only reply as a father, should be positive. So I tell him, “He’s in our thoughts, mind and heart. He’s watching over us, protecting, loving and showering us with many wonderful and happy thoughts.”

I will also think about last year’s Memorial weekend where I was at Arlington National Cemetery to see the funeral of my father. Meeting several veterans and also soldiers that still serve telling me about my father. I listened to stories of the hardships they endured for my family’s freedom and peace that we all live in.

I will also recall hearing last year that my father, Lt. James R. Hitchcock, received the highest honor a soldier can get, being buried with many others from the Army, Air Force, Marines, National Guardsmen, Navy, and Coast Guard in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.

Another thing we tend to overlook on Memorial Day are the police officers, Highway Patrol and firemen, who lay their lives on the line everyday and put their families on hold to ensure us freedom and safety.

Freedom is NOT free and they sometimes pay for our freedom with their lives.

Since my life has been changed the last two years, I feel compelled to walk up to servicemen and shake their hands while telling them, “Thank you for everything you have done for me and my family to ensure the freedom we live in. It is very appreciated and you are a hero.”

This Memorial weekend, I ask you all to do the same.