I hope you will clip this opinion column out of the newspaper and stick it on the front of the refrigerator with a magnet until the day you remember to bring me a photo of anyone in your family who served in the military. Yes, I am talking to you. And yes, we are making a tribute to our veterans in a downtown window for Memorial Day weekend, just as we did in 2010. I know you meant to get around to bringing me a picture last year, but forgot. Here is your chance to redeem yourself.
Operation Celebration is just around the corner. The committees are meeting and finalizing the events to honor our veterans for the fourth year in a row. I find myself in charge of the Veterans’ Roll Call window for another year and I need your help. I need a photo of anyone in your family who served in any branch of the military. Wartime, peacetime, stateside service, overseas service, male, or female — I don’t care. We place special emphasis on our World War II veterans because we have so little time left to honor them, but we are grateful to all who have served and we want to recognize everyone.
The first Veterans’ Roll Call window featured about 75 photographs. It was a popular exhibit, attracting groups of people not only during the Operation Celebration event, but as long as it was on display. The pictures featured a diverse group from Sharon Schmill’s great-grandfather in his World War I uniform to young guys like Jay Gfeller who recently came home from Iraq. I would like to add to the pictures that filled both windows of the Lawson building and spilled over into Jackrabbit Hollow’s storefront windows. Maybe even double the number this year.
For that, my committee needs your help. We need photos of you, your dad, grandfather, aunt, brother, sister, great-uncle, mother-in-law, or child. If you are not from Peabody and no one knows your relations that makes no difference — we still want their photos for the Veteran’s Roll Call. To protect your photos, we will scan them and return the originals. We will frame the copies and add the name, rank, branch of service, and theater of operation to the photo. I got great shots of my Dad with some members of the 45th division band in France and my Aunt Gertrude, a nurse who served in a field hospital in Italy. Into the window they went!
I am giving you plenty of notice. It is mid-March. You have all kinds of time to dig through your photo albums and find me the good stuff. The more you find, the better my project will be and I know you care! I am easy to find. I am either at the newspaper office in the back room of Jackrabbit Hollow (under the striped awning downtown) or I am at home (I am in the phone book) or I am arguing in some restaurant or coffee shop. Stop by or give me a call (all my phones have answering machines, leave a message.)
There you go, you can find me anywhere and I will be happy to make arrangements to pick up your photos and find out about your veteran. We need to do this. I am going to do my part, but you need to help. You do!
— Susan Marshall