The recent observance of Memorial Day is more than a holiday, full of fun in the sun, cookouts and being with friends and families. The most important part of Memorial Day is to honor the past, present and future men and women in our armed forces who both had risked and given their lives in pursuit of our American freedom.
This year I had never been more prouder on Memorial Day, because I was in the Lucasville Memorial Day parade walking with the Sons of the American Legion, who walked for the first time with the American Legion Post 23. The Sons of the American Legion in Lucasville formed in January, and it’s for men whose parents or grandparents served in the military. Women also have a part in the American Legion, participating in the auxiliary, who also walked in the parade and served hot dogs and other refreshments after a ceremony in Lucasville cemetery.
I felt the spirit of my grandfather, Ray Altman, who was in the Army and was stationed at the Philippines in World War II. He was a medical technician with a M*A*S*H Unit. I couldn’t join the military due to my physical limitations, as I have cerebral palsy. I was so glad that Post 23 was going to have the Sons of the American Legion unit. Alongside of walking with the American Legion in the parade, we also assist them with funerals, offering poppies for donations to help them with the war memorial, plus other things such as pancake dinners to raise money.
I love my country and what it stands for, to promote freedom. I may have the desires to change some things around – that is why we have freedom of speech, to try to get laws passed. That is why we have democracy, so we want to improve the lives for all Americans. So if we see things that need improved for the citizens of this country, with or without disabilities.
I have never been in combat, and I thank all of the brave men and women who gave everything that they have to promote our values throughout the world when they were called upon. I can still represent and serve my country in numerous ways based on my own skills.
As John F Kennedy once said: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” All people have limitations on what they are able to do, however, we all should think of things that we are capable of doing and craft our skills to promote our abilities to help our community.
Bill Adams is the self-advocacy specialist at STAR, Inc.