On the Beat in Bluffton

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

‘Honor our fallen by teaching the living’

Monday’s lesson was clear and it was simple: Be a patriot.

For its teacher, though, the last nine years have been anything but easy.

Standing in front of a crowd of people, first in a park and then in a cemetery, Bluffton native Michele Hiester Marcum detailed how her life was defined nearly a decade ago, she said, when two uniformed men brought news her family didn’t want to hear.

“My brother wasn’t coming home,” she recalled Monday morning, during both the Bluffton and Ossian Memorial Day services.

Learn more in the Tuesday, May 27 

During her speech, Marcum  also instructed the crowds how to be more patriotic in 18 ways.

• Speak the names of the fallen - Learn who they were, what they stood for, who they might have become.
• Visit a grave, buy a poppy, shake the hand of a veteran - Life is short and wasted opportunities can never be recaptured.
• When the anthem rings, remove your hat - It’s a simple act but speaks volumes to those around you.
• Place your right hand over your heart - as you remember that the hearts of many no longer beat ... just so that you can have the freedom to cover yours.
• Actually pledge the Pledge of Allegiance rather than merely reciting it. I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America ...
• Enjoy your freedoms by voting every chance you get - Better yet, take your children and grandchildren with you, and let them witness democracy in action.
• Thank the teacher who impressed upon you the significance of casting your first vote. (Thank you, Mr. Kracium!)
• When parades march through with our colors at the lead, be the first to rise and the last to sit.
• And when our beloved military passes by, get on your feet and lead the standing ovation.
• Visit Arlington at least once so you can fully comprehend the cost of that silence.
• Raise your own flag, whether at work or at home. And remember to replace her when she becomes worn.
• Know that children are watching. Adults, too. Never pass up an opportunity to be a good citizen.
• Do not partake in the chatter around you during the national anthem. Be the quiet example.
• Learn all you can in history class, because it really is important, after all.
• Exchange the attitude for some gratitude, and sleep knowing our nation is incredibly blessed.
• Be a mentor, be a leader, be a patriot.
• Never miss the chance to model, to teach, to impress upon someone the sacrifices made on their behalf.
• Make Memorial Day a way of life and not just a day.

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