Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Day of Remembrance, A Day to Remember

Memorial Day Service at Big Springs Cemetery
May 28

Unused to my new Mountain Time schedule (I unknowingly passed the invisible line in Paxton), I woke much too early.  In need of groceries and interested in attending Memorial Day services, I sat in neutral at the park finishing a subpar Elmore Leonard novel.  At eight I made my way to the store, where I learned more about the infamous robbery of the Farmers Bank.  I spoke to Diane, who had dated the son of one those murdered.  She described him as bitter even now, still blaming the men who survived for not doing more to save his mother.   Duane had been considered a good kid, had never been in any trouble with the law.  He had been given the money, there was no need for him to shoot those inside the bank.  Why did this All-American kid snap?
At 9:30 I headed out to the cemetery for the Big Springs Memorial Day Service.  On the way I met another Miller, Barbara, who used to live in Big Springs before moving to Lewellen.  We attended the somber ceremony together, I starkly reminded of the purpose for the journey and she of the health struggles of her brother, who had suffered massive exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.  I'll long remember her words as we returned to her car, "Why do we have war?"
In a reflective mood I returned to the road.  The miles passed quickly, my distracted mind a whirlwind.  In seemingly no time I reached the Colorado border.  The last gasps and gusts of the Nebraska wind could not hold me back any longer.
Two miles over the border I ran into my first Colorado city, Julesburg.  The town was one of the first settlements in these parts, or was until Native Americans burned it to the ground.  Julesburg rose again, only to fade when the railroad changed course.  The third iteration met a similar fate.  Undeterred, the phoenix tried a fourth time.  This time Julesburg has survived, proving that persistence pays off - a lesson I will surely have to remember in the coming months.

12 miles/2297 total miles

Thanks to my new Nebraska friends:
Natasha and Kevin in Lincoln
Gretchen and the rest of the Hite family
Bob and Lucy Furr, Ryan, Christy and the rest of the Dutch Oven Gang
Ron and Kathy Fowler
Mary and Jodi in Rising City
Greg and Peg Volzke
Junior and his mom in Doniphan
The Ellers
George from Doniphan
Pat and Lee in Stromsburg
Ryan in Giltner
Candy, Jena, and Reed
The Millers: Dennis Jr, Dennis III, Cynthia, Rex, Cindy, and Barbara
Diane and Alicia in Big Springs


Anonymous said...

Thanks for making your way through Nebraska!! I really enjoy reading your blog - I check it everyday.

Have a safe trip and thank you for all of your efforts to support the wounded soldiers!

God Bless,

Ron Smith

Anonymous said...

That story of Duane Earl Pope is really interesting bro, did you learn if anyone had ever done more extensive research into it and written a book about Pope, the events of that day and the aftermath, etc.? Disturbing, but fascinating stuff, particularly from a psychological standpoint of what would cause a seemingly normal upstanding citizen to commit such a heinous crime. Anyway, enough blabbering, enjoying the blogs, always learning something new!