It’s Memorial Day, a time for remembering and honoring the many who served and sacrificed to make it possible for me to enjoy singing about “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Filled with memories about last summer’s tour, I vividly recall events from Memorial Day weekend in Kentucky and Tennessee.
In Louisville on Saturday night, I enjoyed the largest crowd of the summer. In Nashville the following day, I was serenaded by the shrill of cicadas that surrounded and invaded the ballpark. Yet on Monday, Memorial Day itself, few fans attended the Generals’ game in Jackson, Tennessee.
|The sparse crowd on Memorial Day at Jackson, Tennessee.|
|A Generals' staffer plays pre-game catch with the "Play Ball" announcer.|
There at Pringles Park I was stunned that no Honor Guard presented the Colors, nor did the announcer suggest a moment of silence to honor the service of generals and admirals, privates and sailors, nor did he recognize any veterans in the sparse crowd. While there were no fans wearing VFW hats, the Generals’ field-staff sported camouflage shirts. No promotion featured the patriotic day, and no group passed out small flags, as the Knights of Columbus would do in Winston-Salem on Flag Day. But a flag was held high by two children in a bronze statue at the entrance to Pringles Park: Even so, the sculpture paid tribute to the “Children of Tennessee’s fallen warriors,” not to the servicemen and servicewomen themselves.
|The sculpture celebrating the patriotism of "the children of Tennessee's fallen warriors."|
And during the pregame ceremonies, the ironic apathy of the Generals toward Memorial Day continued with the innocuous announcement that “Tonight’s Coca Cola national anthem is presented by Joe Price.” Period. Coke got more praise at the Pringles Park than veterans on Memorial Day.
While I was personally miffed by the slight introduction, I was profoundly offended by the Generals’ absolute neglect of veterans, to whom we owe ongoing recognition and deep respect.