Today is my first ever Memorial Day Monday and it has taken me a number of years to get to this post.
Back in 2018, I wrote a post Does Memorial Day Still Matter 2018 Edition. That post honored two people from my hometown who had died in the service of this country Mark A. Lange, LT, USN, and Army Cpl. Walter B. Howard II. You can click on the link to check that out and remember them.
I have tried to do a post every year on or around Memorial Day honoring people who served and died, being that is the whole point of the last Monday in May — remembering those brave men and women who gave their last full measure of devotion in service to this country.
However, something has been bugging me about doing just one post a year. I can’t recall precisely where I read it but someone who wrote what follows has affected me and has motivated me to do this more than once a year. They wrote (and I’m paraphrasing): It is proper that the country stop the last Monday in May to remember those who have fallen but for those family and friends, Memorial Day is 365 days a year.
Those poignant words have stuck with me ever since.
So I’ve been playing around with the idea of doing a Memorial Day post more than just on Memorial Day. Why can’t I take the time and do a post once a week for a full year in remembrance of those who have died? I’m blessed to have this platform at RedState and I have finally decided to get off my duff and do a post every Monday for the next 52 weeks to honor people who gave everything they had and service to the United States of America.
So for this very first Memorial Day Monday, we take a moment to remember someone that my next-door neighbor, Texas Tom, grew up with and who died in Vietnam: CPL William James Hillard II.
CPL Hillard was born on March 1st, 1948, and was killed in action in Vietnam on March 15, 1969. My neighbor grew up with him and remembered him as a gregarious person who was always smiling. At only 150 pounds during high school, he became the center on the football team and was also President of Future Farmers of America.
He worked at the local dairy farm run by Dale Anderson to make some money and after high school joined the Peace Corps and was stationed in India for approximately six months in 1967. He came back home and married Rosemary Brain before enlisting in March of 1968 and eventually being sent to Vietnam to join Company B, 26th Engineer Battalion.
The young Corporal died just two weeks after celebrating his 21st birthday and had not been married a year.
Corporal Bill Hillard served in a war that divided the United States of America. This remembrance is not being done to debate the merits of that war in any way, shape, or form. This is being done to hopefully remind us all that young Americans throughout the history of this country have done what they felt was right in service to their country and some never came home alive.
His death impacted his hometown which lost a vibrant young man just reaching his prime.
America lost part of her future and owes a debt it can never repay.
Thankfully, last November, a bridge going through Randolph, New York, was renamed CPL William James Hillard Memorial Bridge 52 years after his death according to The Post-Journal.
Corporal Hillard was an example of the best of the City of Randolph, the State of New York, and part of the heart and soul of America. His all too brief time on this planet should remind us that it is not the flag or an anthem that makes our country great but her people that serve it in many different ways shapes and forms.
May God continue to bless his family and friends left behind and may his memory be eternal.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and if I may ask a favor of you. I want to do one of these posts a week and I would love for you to send me those who you know who have served and given their lives in service to their country. Please contact me at my bio RIGHT HERE to send me your suggestions.