By – Priscilla Miller, ACRP Secretary (May 23, 2013) 

 “ThisBy the age of two, little girls love their daddy and if for some tragic reason death shatters that special relationship, the child really has no understanding of why he has left her.

All she knows are days of painful longing as she waits for him to return, but eventually the finality of what has happened, becomes her reality, and though the longing will always continue, she stops asking for him.

Only photos in a worn album are left behind to remind her of the brief time they shared together, and occasionally, the sweet, faintly familiar scent of pipe smoke wafting in the air stirs something deep inside of her that speaks his name.

There are also those little letters he wrote to her each day, back in 1944, from the Naval Training Center where he met his untimely death at the tender age of 29.  Those letters, along with the flag that once draped his coffin, are all she has left to treasure throughout the years.

Tending his gravesite and planting geraniums then proudly placing a small flag next to his grave marker became a Memorial Day tradition.  Along with the parade on Main Street and the memorial service that always followed.  The sound of a lone bugle playing “Taps” always filled her with a sense of pride and made her think of him. She grew into womanhood, had a family of her own and throughout the passing years, she always felt her Father’s love was with her.

I know this, because I was that little girl.

Several years ago, when I learned that after nearly 60 years of holding a Memorial Day Parade in Alden, there wasn’t going to be one, I just knew I couldn’t let that happen.  I began making phone calls, arranging for various people and organizations to play a part in Alden’s parade.

On the morning of the parade, I mentally went through a checklist of parade participants and suddenly realized I had forgotten to get horses for the parade, but it was just too late to do anything about it. As I hurried out the door on my way to the parade staging area, I paused for a moment and whispered,     “This one’s for you, Daddy.”

We were turning down a side street, and I was still wishing I had remembered to get some horses, when suddenly two riders on horseback, both holding flags appeared in front of us.  We stopped the car and they came over to inquire if there was going to be a parade in town that day.  At the staging area, antique cars, band members, veterans, Boy Scouts, Shriners, firefighters were all assembled and waiting, I gave the signal to begin and Alden’s Memorial Day Parade, complete with horses, went off without a glitch.

Upon my return home, as I breathed a sigh of relief and satisfaction, a vague memory suddenly came to mind.  It was something about those little letters my father had written to me so many years ago that prompted me to go and reread his words.  There in one of the letters, written just two days before his death, I read, “Dearest little Angel Girl,…Someday, when you are a big girl, maybe Daddy can get you a nice horsey.”

I knew in my heart, he had heard my words that morning and he was smiling down on me from heaven.

Please right mouse click the link below and open it in a new tab,…to hear that lone bugle playing tribute to all of our lost Soldiers and PLEASE remember this story on Memorial Day with it’s message about the effects on our American families!!!