Just when you least expect it, a window to the past opens right in front of you. Imagine if you will friends meeting in Mississippi for a State MOSB convention, some traveling all the way from Missouri just to spend time with brothers from Mississippi, Tennessee,and Alabama. So you visit the local battlefield in the area that also has a mass grave. Although truly this one is unique from the majority across our beloved Southland, you see they know the names of the men who are buried in that place. That in and of itself is unusual.
It is a moving place to spend a Saturday afternoon visiting. But the moment changes very quickly. I will share two pictures which define the next few moments, at that time, in that place, at a distant battlefield. The first picture being what most in our neck of the woods would call a mountain of a man, he is the very picture of a hard-working, blue collar, heart of the nation kind of a guy. He just so happens to also be a veteran of the armed services who is very proud of not only his own service to our country, but also the service of a long line of ancestors who fought and some paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and liberty. He is stunned, he is struggling to understand the feelings running through his very being. He has just found a distant cousin, laying at rest in that mass grave and the raw emotion of the moment almost brings him to his knees.
This picture is edited so you can’t identify him, unless you know him as a friend. It isn’t about the person, it is about the moment. The same is true of the next picture. He is also a veteran of the armed services who shares the same qualities of character and of ancestry. No one was there filming a movie, no one was there conducting an interview. This is just two veterans caught in a moment of time.
If you want to know why we belong to the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, these two photos answer that question. It is to be there in that moment when the Good Lord above opens a window to the past and it suddenly becomes very real. Those events 160 years ago are written in these fellow’s DNA, it is a a part of who they are, it is a piece of why they served and risked their own lives in defense of our Southland. It brings back to them the reality that not all of their kin were able to walk away from their defense of our freedom and liberties, and I would guess at some level it reminds them that they were the lucky ones who survived. God bless our beloved Southland and God bless all those who have rose to her defense throughout the years!