Originally called Decoration Day, from the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags, Memorial Day commemorates all men and women who have died in military service for the United States. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to honor the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, and has since grown into a day of remembrance and reverence for all those we have lost in the line of duty.
Over 150 years later, Memorial Day continues to be a great opportunity to support our veterans, many who spend the day remembering friends and family that made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. We can honor all those, dead and alive, by acknowledging the sacrifices they have made through their years of training, deployments, and combat which often result in missed holidays, anniversaries, births of children, funerals and so many other important life events.
Helping our veterans to honor friends and family that served before them and beside them is a great way to show how much we appreciate all they have done for us. Through organizations like the Honor Flight Network, civilians are able to volunteer time and donate funds to send veterans to Washington D.C. This trip allows veterans the opportunity to see the memorials and monuments that were built in honor of their service and those that fell beside them.
Honor Flight has over a 140 Regional Hubs across the country and also offers a Lone Eagle Program, helping to ensure that all veterans have the chance to apply for the Honor Flight experience. Just a mere 25 miles from our Tiffin distribution center is the Flag City Honor Flight. This regional hub is a 100 percent volunteer-run, non-profit organization that relies on public donations. Devoted civilians plan, develop, orchestrate and implement the area’s Honor Flight; transporting over 80 Veterans to Washington D.C. each year at no cost.
The 2019 Flag City Honor Flight will take place on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, with a very special member in its ranks. Concordance driver James (Jim) Shrode, Machine Gunner in the Vietnam War will be aboard the flight as one of the youngest veterans in attendance.
In 1969, Shrode enlisted in the Marine Corps and became one of the 549,000 troops sent into Vietnam that year. “I raised my right hand at age 19. I didn't know what I was getting into, but I knew exactly what the oath meant,” remembers Shrode. “I, James C. Shrode, do Solemnly Swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; So, Help Me God.”
“Those are words I still live by and I am so humbled to be able to travel to D.C. on this flight and pay tribute to all the guys that didn’t make it home.” Shrode shared with both excitement and reverence.
Tiffin to D.C.
The trip will allow Shrode and his fellow veterans to visit and pay their respects at the WWII, Korean, Vietnam and Air Force Memorials, as well as the Arlington Cemetery where they will have the opportunity to witness the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Also, on the agenda are views of the U.S. Marine Corp War Memorial (also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial), the Washington Monument, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the Pentagon, White House and Capitol Buildings.
Shrode reflected back on his time in the military, where he earned the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnamese Service Medal, complete with one 3/16 Bronze Star. This Memorial Day, while he prepares for his once-in-a-lifetime Honor Flight experience, Shrode has a simple request, “remember the fallen for all the good they did, reach out and let a Vet know that you’re there for them, and never forget those that we have lost in the name of freedom.”
To everyone who has lost a loved one as they served our proud Nation – we thank you for your strength, your courage and your sacrifice. We are so grateful and honored to know that your loved ones fought for our freedoms and never backed down.
At Concordance Healthcare Solutions, we are committed to supporting all aspects of life for our military men and women and their families. This includes servicing Veteran Affairs Medical Facilities across the country, and working diligently to employ veterans from all branches of the military. We recognize the dedication, leadership and sacrifices they have made for our country and strive to support them at every turn.