On this Memorial Day weekend, I took an impromptu trip to Charlotte, on Lake Ontario, to walk on the pier.
Actually, I had just picked up my new car the night before and wanted to take it for a nice long ride, since I’m getting 35 mpg instead of 13 mpg. But I digress.
Once upon a time, Charlotte was the Coney Island of Western New York, a destination point for families to come and holiday at resort hotels, sun at the beach, and enjoy the amusement park rides and attractions. Today, there’s still a lovely beach and park, and walking on the pier is a favorite way to spend a sunny afternoon.
After taking some photos of the hundred-plus year old Dentzel Carousel – which has the distinction of being one of only fourteen operating menagerie carousels in the country, and one of a few still in its original locations – I noticed some flags stuck in the ground. Turns out they’re memorial markers for servicemen who died in WWI, put there by their classmates from the Charlotte Class of 1921.
I noticed especially that it says they’re for those lost in “the World War”, because in 1921, there had only been one world war, and I imagine they didn’t think there would ever be another.
Nearby was this marker, for the crew of the USS Liberty, who had the honor of having the most decorations awarded for a single ship action in US history: a Congressional Medal of Honor; 2 Navy Crosses; 34 Silver and Bronze Stars; 208 Purple Hearts. Thirty four crew members were killed in action; 174 wounded in action.
I’ve been to Charlotte countless times in my life, and I’ve never seen any of those markers. I wonder how many times I’ve simply walked past something historical and not even noticed.
While we honor all of our veterans on Veterans Day, it’s important to set aside a day to honor those who died in service to their country. I’m glad I stumbled on these memorials, and find it a fitting tribute that they’re near the carousel, filled this weekend with families celebrating America and freedom.