I consider Memorial day to be a day of National Mourning. It is a day for me to memorialize those who have sacrificed their lives for freedom, liberty, and justice.
I personally observe the day to remember all the soldiers, my ancestors, family members, civil rights leaders, neighbors, friends and our love ones who have lost the fight. Memorial’s Day is not just about war. This should be a day to aid in the memory of all those lost in tragedy whether it is war, sickness, or an act of nature. This year, my sister Barbara Patton, Mitchell Harris and myself visited Jackson Tennessee. This was not my first visit it was my third. I attended two funerals, Mrs. Eula Davis on January 9, 2008 and Cleo Lewis who died on August 31, 2007 a few months apart from each other. Mrs. Eula Davis was my father’s sister and Cleo Lewis was his first cousin and most of my parent’s family all grew up in Tennessee. I had an opportunity to meet some of my father’s relatives for the very first time at his sister’s funeral. Unfortunately, it had to be under those circumstances. I had never been to Tennessee prior to the funerals. Both my mother and father are from Tennessee. This would turn out to be a great trip because I was going to meet my cousins Frederick and Angela Cole and their three children for the very first time. I would also get a history lesson, one that I will not forget.
We took the scenic route and stopped approximately 10 times during the 15-hour ride to Jackson Tennessee by car. I was excited to finally meet other members of my father’s family. My father died on June 15, 1994 of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia sometimes called acute Myloid Leukemia or acute Non-lymphocytic Leukemia. He passed away 14 years ago. My cousins Fred and Angela Cole were just as excited to get together with us. My older sister and brother Barbara and Kenneth Patton grew up in Tennessee and had been home to visit the rest of our family when they were younger. Barbara had already met my cousins several weeks earlier while she was there visiting and she wanted me to meet them as well. I wasn’t able to visit Tennessee in the past prior to the funerals, due to illness or expenses. We had a great family reunion and I will cherish my new found family always. We decided to go out to eat dinner as a family and my cousin Fred suggested that we go to Casey’s Old Country Store Restaurant for dinner. The restaurant is located in Jackson Tennessee and that was where our hotel was, in fact, Casey’s Village was directly behind the hotel. Tennessee has some of the best southern restaurants that I have ever seen. We enjoyed all the food and the great items that are displayed in the country store. I saw porcelain dolls, teapots, guns and lots of old-fashioned candy. Some of the candy I remembered eating when I was a child. I visited the Casey Museum and looked at the No. 382 Locomotive and Casey’s Caboose that he drove. In addition to eating great food, I also received a history lesson about John Luther “Casey” Jones and Simeon T. Webb that I will never forget.