Generous act of kindness

The beautiful Lee Cemetery is located in Verona, along the Spring River. The cemetery has been around for generations, with headstones dating back as far as 1841. On June 1, a terrible discovery was made. Approximately 40 to 50 headstones had been knocked over, some of them broken beyond repair. The cowards who did this terrible deed have yet to be found. The outpouring of support was immediate and far-reaching.

Among those providing generous acts were Bill Joslen and his staff at Quality Memorials in Carthage, and Travis Boyd, manager of Mount Hope Cemetery in Webb City. They were quick to call and offer support. Staff from the two organizations loaded up their equipment and made the 40-mile trip to Verona and went to work.

Within hours, the headstones were placed back up, and the cemetery was looking great. They did not ask for money or recognition. They did not ask for anything in return. Boyd, Jeff McGuire and Colton Laster from Mount Hope Cemetery were on hand that day as well as Joslen and Kevin Wosley from Quality Memorials.

The trustees and families of the buried at Lee Cemetery would like to extend our thanks to Quality Memorials and Mount Hope Cemetery.

It is so good to know that there are people and businesses out there who do the right thing, not for recognition or to make money but because they genuinely care and step up to lend a hand when needed. Thank you.

John Paul Lee

Trustee, Lee Cemetery Association

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Not a happy occasion

Years ago, I was in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. This was during the Vietnam War era, but I was a company clerk in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and never went to Vietnam. At one time, my orders were to go there, but those were canceled as the powers that be determined that I did not have enough time in service left to justify sending me to a war zone. An officer tried to get me to re-enlist, but I refused to do so as I knew where I would be going.

Although I did not go overseas, a number of my Army friends did, and they came home for funeral services and burial. I still lament one friend — a gentle, kind person and a classmate of Bob Dylan — who was sent to Vietnam and met his demise. Another, prone to drink too much, had a rollicking sense of humor that was extinguished. My company commander, who was also a pilot, was shot down in that foreign country. I do not know the fate of many others who left to go to Southeast Asia, but I strongly suspect that several did not come back alive.

Apparently, my company was just a step up, with the next step being Vietnam. Most of these people, with the exception of the company commander, were young — in their late teens or early 20s.

So for me and other ex-service members, Memorial Day is a somber occasion, not a happy one. Not that I weep or engage in prolonged sadness, but it is a day set aside for remembrance for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and for those who served with honor but did not give their lives.

I know that it is quite a few days since the nation observed Memorial Day, but after thinking about it quite a bit, I find it is particularly galling when a leader who never served — because of some alleged bone spurs — uses Memorial Day as a day to urge everyone to be happy. To make matters even worse, he was in Japan, where many died in a war with that country, when he wished everyone to have a “happy Memorial Day.”

For me and many others, Memorial Day is not a happy occasion. To my mind, those who attempt to make it so degrade those who served and elevate war service to some sort of happiness. That is a sick and distorted view of those who gave their all or several years of their life.

Ken Midkiff

Columbia, Mo.