Memorial Weekend was the busiest one the 6th Regiment USCT has ever had. We participated in four commemorations, in Jamesburg, Lawrence, and Westampton New Jersey, and one in Dover Delaware. On Saturday we divided up our troops to be in two events scheduled at the same time. Its' very demanding on our troops and cadets, and a burden on their families with whom they could be recreating for the long weekend. I am very appreciative in being associated with such a dedicated corps of people. In addition, I would like to give accolades to the other groups that participated in those events, coming together to recognize those who sacrificed all for freedom. An especially moving event was the one held at the Timbuctoo Civil War Memorial Cemetery,in Westampton,NJ. Timbuctoo was a black community founded about 1820. Thought life wasn't easy, it was a relatively prosperous progressive community that valued education as a means of advancement for free blacks. Many of its able bodied men, answered the call to arms to fight for the Union, and the freedom of our people at great personal sacrifice. The story of free black men who took up arms for a country that neither recognized them as citizens, nor having any rights that white men was obligated to recognize, is a story all too little known or appreciated.
This weekend, we paid honor to troops in the National Guard returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, in a parade in Trenton, New Jersey. Members ot the 6th USCT/1st Rhode Island Regiment formed up with the Fife and Drums of the Old Oarracks, a group that portrays musicians in the Continental Army during the American Revolution.. The spectators enthusiastically cheered on the troops and showed great appreciation for the Fife and Drums playing period military music.
For me,observances such as these are not for the glorification of war or the support of a particular war. They are the recognition of those who put themselves in harms way for us, and the heavy burden we bear in a democracy, if we fail in our committment to peace and justice.