Memorial Day to Remember

By: Chandler Langevin, Veteran Services Coordinator

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Memorial Day is a very sacred time for staff and volunteers at St. Francis Reflections. As part of our ongoing commitment to Veterans, we traveled throughout Brevard County to render honors to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

Here are some of my highlights from the day.

• Buena Vida Estates, Melbourne

We were joined by a resident playing the National Anthem on a grand piano in the foyer, followed by Service Songs, and America the Beautiful. A large gathering of residents, many with their service hats on, joined their voices together in song, hitting each note with reverence and care. Upon concluding the ceremony, I sat down with a Marine Corps Veteran who fought in Korea and Vietnam and reminisced over the good times and the great people we served with.

• Chateau Madeleine, Melbourne

Marine Corps combat Veteran and good friend, Chip Hanson, honored us by opening the ceremony in prayer, sharing a rousing story about service, and remembering our fallen heroes. Hearts were touched when our new team member, Kayla Anderson, shared a Memorial Day poem written by her uncle who has since passed away. It was a very special moment for all in attendance.

• Porcher House, Cocoa Village

Joining “Gold Star” family, Donn and Jeanne Weaver, we viewed a series of beautiful paintings that took us on a journey in honor of their son, 1st Lt. Todd Weaver, who made the ultimate sacrifice while deployed to Afghanistan. During the tour, Jeanne told the stories surrounding each of her paintings and how this creative outlet helped her heal from such a tragic time in her life.

• Riverfront Park, Cocoa

Donn Weaver presided over a very moving ceremony for a large gathering of Veterans from throughout Brevard County. I got goosebumps multiple times, especially when General Patton was quoted: “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”

It has been my personal experience that these men and women truly were the best our country had, and it was my greatest honor to serve alongside them.