I typically end my report by stating "we are blessed!" As we approach Memorial Day weekend, I begin with those three words ... we are blessed! Thanks for joining me for a few minutes for this porch side chat. I’ve so enjoyed some good ole porch sittin’ over the past several days. Folks have been pulling up in their cars along Windsor Street to say hello. I so appreciate your brief visits. Neighbor “KW” pulls up quite often. “What do you need brother?” are his words. “KW” is a disabled Vietnam veteran and former law enforcement officer. Thanks KW for your service and friendship.

Memorial Day is a humbling time. Freedom is a word quoted so often this time of year. Our freedoms are in view every day. The houses of worship throughout the G-A community! By the way Gov. Wolf ... it’s time to let our parishioners open their doors and parking lots utilizing CDC guidelines! Our governmental services provided and our right to speak our minds to your elected public servants as I just did as I continue to strongly object to our governor’s actions. Ask our military men and women who have served on foreign soils and the oppression that exists in the world today.

 The G-A Veterans’ Memorial is placed at borough hall for the reasons stated. You can stand at the Veterans’ Memorial and visualize our freedoms that these heroes from this very community fought and died to protect and defend. Their families sacrificed so much as well. Uncle Elmer Swain entered military service in March, 1942. On a January day in 1943 my Mother (Elmer’s sister) received a Western Union telegram that he was killed in action on Guadalcanal. He would be interred in the family church cemetery near Little Orleans, Md., in March 1948. Growing up the aunts, uncles and dozens of cousins would gather at Grand-ma’s farm Sunday afternoons. That’s what we did back then. She was a Gold Star Mother and was one of my family heroes. We would hear stories about Uncle (Private) Elmer Swain with his photograph taken in Hawaii in the farm house living room. Uncle Brooks would sit in his chair and smoke his pipe while reading the newspaper. Uncle Brooks served in the Army Air Corps in England. This is what hundreds of thousands of American families experienced. Please say a prayer for these great American families this Memorial Day weekend as their family members rest in peace.

I recall one of my many conversations with long-time Greencastle business leader, the late Tom Fox. Tom was a WWII veteran of the Battle of the Bulge. He grew up on a farm near State Line and went in business following the war on a hand-shake with a garage owner here on South Washington Street. He once told me that he’d rather have been fighting them there (Belgium’s Battle of the Bulge) than here at home. Those were powerful words that I clearly recall.

So Memorial Day and weekend is days away. Consider virtually joining me. Walk around downtown Greencastle and view the “Hometown Hero” banners (veterans’ photographs) that have been mounted by our public works personnel, FASTSIGNS and Fastenal. They’re mounted on Baltimore Street, Washington Street and Carlisle Street.

Visit and stand for a moment of silence at the Greencastle-Antrim Veterans’ Memorial at 60 N. Washington St. Ask and listen to your friends and family members who have worn the uniform of the United States armed forces.

A special thanks to our Scout troops that will place flags on the graves of our veterans interred in area cemeteries. Take a ride to our local cemeteries and view the small red, white, and blue flags at veterans’ graves. Fly your United States flag, no matter the size. Listen to the Memorial Day service live on WRGG/LP-FM at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 25 (93.7 FM or wrgg.org). Thank you to our VFW and American Legion officers for your participation in this virtual service.

Finally, I so appreciate The Echo Pilot for allowing me to write you every week during these challenging times. Thank you for supporting this great G-A community; our children; our senior citizens; our senior class members; our church community; our first responders and health care providers; and supporting each other. Let’s shop our local business community as they reopen if you are financially able to do so.

Yes ... we are blessed!