For many, Memorial Day is a day off from work or a time to gather with friends and family for the first cookout of the summer season. For those living in the Valley, it may be a time to escape the summer heat and descend upon the cooler towns in the Rim Country.
Of course, the real meaning of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is to remember those men and women who have died while serving our country.
Memorial Day was first observed 144 years ago, on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. It’s now celebrated in almost every state on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971).
If you’ve recently driven south along the Beeline Highway between Bonita and Main Streets, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the patriotic remembrance mural that’s being painted on the side of “Misty’s Creations” resale shop.
Misty DeCaire, store owner, told me, “The mural is not quite finished yet, but we hope to have it completed in time for next weekend’s Memorial Day celebration. The painting is our way of honoring our American veterans.”
The beautiful patriotic mural was created by and is being completed through the volunteer efforts of local artist Heather O’berg.
On Memorial Day, Misty’s store will not only be open as usual, but she will also be hosting an old-fashioned back-of-the-store barbecue. The barbecue is open to the community, but Misty is also expecting nearly 200 “biker” veterans to show up, many rumbling in from as far away as California.
Misty has spent all of her adult life either directly serving our country or by helping those who have.
A 22-year Air Force nurse and parachutist (80 jumps), 86-years-young Misty opened her Veterans Helping Veterans home here in Payson 19 years ago. Located on West Wade Lane, the 15-room boarding home and homeless shelter houses a maximum of 35 people.
Misty says, “We have mostly veterans living in the home, including two vets who have lived with us for the past 14 years, but we never refuse anyone who is homeless. Please stop by sometime and check out our store. All of our profits go toward funding the home. And if you don’t see what you’re looking for inside, you can sign our ‘wish list’ and I’ll call you when your item comes in.”
Throughout America’s history, wars and other political events and unrest have always inspired music artists to express themselves through song. “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” was introduced during the Civil War; Kate Smith’s “God Bless America” during World War I; Bing Crosby’s “A Hot Time in the Town of Berlin” during World War II; and “War,” a protest song by Edwin Starr was written near the end of the Vietnam War, just to name a few.
This week’s music trivia question is: Can you match the following popular patriotic songs: 1) “God Bless the USA”; 2) “The Ballad of the Green Berets”; and 3) “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” with the war in which they were popular? A) The War in Iraq; B) World War II’ and C) The Vietnam War.
If you are the fourth caller with the correct matches to this week’s trivia question, you’ll win a $20 gift certificate to Misty’s Solutions.
Last week’s music trivia
This past week’s music trivia question was: What is the first name of this year’s American Idol mentor, the 59-year-old music producer who weekly provides coaching to each of the program’s contestants? Is it A) Johnny; B) Jerry; C) Jimmy; or D) Jeremiah?
The correct answer was B. Jimmy Lovine, who is now in his second season as Idol’s full-time mentor.
Congratulations to this past week’s multiple time music trivia winner, Judy Corwin, who won a $25 gift certificate to Payson Wireless, courtesy of owner John Griffith. Judy told me, “This is great, Bill (her husband) is going to love this. He shops at Payson Wireless all the time.”
And finally ...
New pictures that I’ve added to my Web site are from this past Wednesday’s promotion ceremony and dance at Tonto Basin School. This year, the school had a small, but dynamic, group of three graduating eighth-grade students.
If you’re looking for something to do over the Memorial Day weekend, stop by the annual arts and crafts show in the Gila County Courthouse parking lot. There will be over 50 vendors displaying their wares and we’ll be providing the music, as usual. Please stop and say hello.
Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend. And congratulations to all of our area graduates.
DJ Craig, (928) 468-1482