Honor The Fallen, Celebrate The Living
Memorial Day gives us the chance to take note of those who have given their lives in the service of our country.
Aseemingly limitless line of blossoms and bouquets and letters at the base of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall. The solemn wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Such images are inexorably tied to Memorial Day, originally dubbed Decoration Day, the day set aside to remember those who died while serving in our armed forces. The ancient custom of adorning with flowers the graves of those who made the ultimate sacrifice lives on, and Lincoln’s famous words from the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg echo in the background: “It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.”
Vero Beach’s own Pat Courtney, Cash Adams, Marty Zickert, Crystal Phillips, Danny Colontrelle and Doy Demsick are only a few of the many veterans who have served our country in ways that are deserving not only of kind words and flowers but of our deepest gratitude on each and every day of the year. Not because they demand such from us but because they don’t.
More than 70 years ago, Eudora “Pat” Hatton Courtney was studying to become a nurse. “Then Pearl Harbor happened while I was in training,” she explains. “I graduated; and by the time I passed my state boards, the military really needed nurses.” So in 1944, Pat joined the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. She first worked at Westover Air Force Base Hospital in Massachusetts. Then, in 1945, she completed air evacuation training and was assigned as a flight nurse with the 830th Medical Evacuation Squadron, providing medical attention to wounded servicemen being flown all around the country.