Vets, Relatives Commemorate the Fallen

By: Tony Tagliavia
By: Tony Tagliavia

Paul Tarr served in the Army in Germany in the 1950s.

"I was in the 3rd Armored Division," Tarr said.

This Memorial Day, he remembers fallen comrades.

"We lost some guys. If you don't honor those who have died in the service of this country, you cannot honor the living,” Tarr said.

As he honors fallen soldiers from his era and the present day, Tarr also remembers his young daughter killed 16 years ago.

"She was a student at Okemos High School," Tarr said.

Mindy Jones of Lansing sees a wider remembrance in Memorial Day as well.

"In addition to honoring our veterans, we should honor all our lost family members," Jones said.

But among Jones' lost family members is her father, Specialist Neil Jones.

He served in the Army National Guard in the 1950s. She visits his grave every year.

"Scrubbing the stones, watering the flowers," Jones said.

Jones says, growing up, her family would honor lost family members each Memorial Day. If they saw the plots of other soldiers, or anyone's plot in need of care, Jones says, they would always do what's necessary.

"I honor them and I honor my ability to have free speech, and living in a free country," she said.

Anna van Dorpe tends a number of graves each Memorial Day. In the same row at Glendale Cemetery in Okemos, she has four lost family members, three of them veterans.

"All winter we're not able to do a lot and we keep them in our hearts. But then the weather’s nice, we come out, and we take that with us. It helps us through the rest of the year," van Dorpe said.

But as some remember those who served in conflicts long ago, Tarr says his mind turns to the American servicemen and women active now.

"I salute those men and women serving overseas," he said.


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