Memorial Day ~ 2022

Posted on May 25, 2022 by Lisa Thomas under Uncategorized
1 Comment

This coming Monday, May 30th, is Memorial Day, a day set aside to remember and honor those who gave their lives in service to our country. For the past few years I’ve focused on three such individuals and told you a little about their service . . . and their deaths.  It was my way of reminding anyone who took the time to read my words that this day—Memorial Day—is so much more than the last of a three day weekend.  

But today I’m torn . . . torn between what has become traditional and what has sadly become all too commonplace.  And for those of you who have not yet mastered reading my mind, I’m referring to the horrific event that took place at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday.  I’ve tried to write about it . . . I need to write about it.  But at this moment it is too fresh.  I am beyond angry and that anger does not translate well into the written word. 

So today I will lean toward the traditional, knowing that the time will come when I can address the all too commonplace.  The anger will still be there.  It will always be there.  But hopefully the words will be there, too. 

 

James Bethel Malone was one week away from his 23rd birthday when he registered for the draft on June 5, 1917.  He was a farmer by trade, single with no one dependent upon him for support . . . of medium build with blue eyes and dark brown hair.  On November 21st of that same year he left his home in Right, Tennessee for the city of Nashville where he entered the United States Navy, eventually achieving the rank of Fireman, Third Class.  But in December his father, John Harrison Malone, received word that his son had succumbed to a bout of pneumonia, dying at the Naval Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia.  His death came on December 23rd . . . slightly over a month since his enlistment.  Even though he did not die in combat, his death was no less devastating. His body was returned to his family who buried him in Adamsville Cemetery, marking his grave with a monument bearing an anchor carved into the stone and the words:

 

James Bethel Malone, U.S.N.

Born June 12, 1894

Died at U.S. Naval Hospital

Norfolk, VA Dec. 23, 1917

“Blessed is he that gives his life in defence.  I trust I shall shortly see thee and we shall speak face to face, peace be to thee, our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name. ~ 3 John 14 verse”

 

 

 

Robert Shearer Brown had just finished his junior year at the University of Tennessee when he was mustered into the United States Army in July of 1917, his education allowing him to enter as a Sergeant.  After training at Camp Sevier in South Carolina and then in Leon Springs, Texas, he was shipped to Europe in May of 1918.   Promotions followed quickly and by September he was a 1st Lieutenant.  But on October 4, 1918, while fighting with the 109th Infantry, he lost his life defending the village of Apremont in the Argonne Forest of France.  His cause of death, as shown on his Tennessee Roll of Honor, Gold Star Record, is simply “Killed in action”.

 

 

 

 

Harold L. Rhodes was military through and through, a dedicated soldier who was constantly seeking ways to serve his country.  Having survived the battles of Central Europe and a year with the Army of Occupation in Berlin, he was discharged in 1946.  Not content to end his service there, he enlisted in the National Guard and then in the Army Reserves in 1950.  Less than two months after marrying he was called to active duty and sent to Korea, fighting with the 1st Cavalry Division of the United States Army, serving under the flag of the United Nations.  Those years of military service came to an end on February 17, 1951 when wounds he suffered while fighting close to Chip-Yong-Ni led to his death.  His body was returned to Chester County, Tennessee and buried in the Henderson City Cemetery, his grave marked by a monument that spoke of his dedication to his country . . . a monument inscribed with the words “Patriot, Soldier, Christian, Gentleman”. Harold Rhodes was only 26 years old and had been in Korea less than three months at the time of his death.

 

 

This Monday, as you head to the lake or fire up the grill, please take a moment to remember.  Remember the men and women who died in service to our country.  Whatever the circumstances surrounding their deaths, they still died—and their deaths still left behind grieving families and friends.

 

 

About the author:  Lisa Shackelford Thomas is a fourth generation member of a family that’s been in funeral service since 1926.  She has been employed at Shackelford Funeral Directors in Savannah, Tennessee for over 40 years and currently serves as the manager there.  Any opinions expressed here are hers and hers alone, and may or may not reflect the opinions of other Shackelford family members or staff.

One thought on “Memorial Day ~ 2022

  1. joe christopher says:

    Thanks Lisa. Most of us need a reminder for the many that have been lost in service to our country.

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