For me, the best, truest part of Memorial Day doesn’t come on Memorial Day, or on the weekend we celebrate it: it comes the week after, and it really isn’t so much a Memorial Day thing as a Veterans Day thing. Whatever you call it, it reminds me of what is important.
Today was the 23rd Annual Operation God Bless America Motorcycle Run, which runs from Greencastle PA to the VA center in Martinsburg, WV.
It’s something I both worry about and love. I worry about the riders, I worry that I will be able to stop traffic at my assigned intersection in time and I pray no one gets hurt.
Like any reserve detail, it is an exercise in ‘hurry up and wait.’ You have to be on station (at the Sheriff”s Office) by noon and at your assigned position by 12:30 and then you wait. And wait. You wait, and hope someone remembers to let you know how close they are, you wait for word of their approach, and then you see it.
If you have enough warning you can get your intersection closed down in time, otherwise… you run. There is a flurry of activity to get traffic stopped, and once it is, there is nothing to do but stand and watch and smile.
Each time, I stand in awe and honor these men and women, their friends and supporters as they ride to raise money for the VA center.
For special details, I have always saluted the Sheriff when he drives by, and I always salute the flag. For this, I also salute the veterans, for as long as I can. To have that salute returned, to get a thumbs up for doing it and a simple “thank you”, reminds me of what it is all about – both my job and the one these men and women did or are doing.
I hear the thunder of the pipes, I feel its rumble deep in my soul, and I am thankful.
To the men and women of our our armed forces: past, present and future, I salute you. Today is my Memorial Day.