Report from Louisiana: Memorial Day 2019

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Today is Memorial Day: the day we honor and remember those who gave their lives in service for our freedom.  Certainly there are many local activities, ceremonies, and remembrances around the country, and while many see the day is the official kickoff to summer, it is important to take time to remember those who sacrificed for our freedom. The day is always about so much more than swimming pools and bar-b-que.

A few Memorial Day related links for your consideration:

The History of Memorial Day from The History Channel.

Powell’s Books offers a good reading list.

The New York Times has 100 Years of Memorial Day Commemorations.

In Baton Rouge, National Guardsmen and other volunteers planted 11K flags to honor and remember Louisiana’s fallen soldiers since the Revolutionary War.  In Boston, their memorial garden is covered with 37K flags.

If you are doing the BBQ thing, try these Andouille hush puppies and this pretty red, white and blue salad is a staple for us every year.

Need a good read?  Ronald Reagan’s Memorial Day Speech (1986) still resonates.

Many cities in the southern half of the country are less concerned with BBQ’s as they are dealing with flooding issues.  The Arkansas River is in major flood stage at Fort Smith, Arkansas, and in Muskogee the USS Batfish at War Memorial Park is once again afloat as the river has flooded many areas of town.  Volunteers have worked there to anchor the World War II era submarine and keep it from floating away.  We toured the fully restored sub a couple of summers ago and it’s impressive.  No doubt after these flood waters recede more work will be needed to repair the vessel once again.

In Louisiana, the Mississippi River is setting new water level records and for the third time in history officials plan to open the Morganza Spillway which will flood the Atchafalaya basin, devastating farm lands and flooding homes.  There is a great deal of tension and anxiety as the decision date approaches this week.

Remember the reason for the day and perhaps take a moment of reflection at 3pm local time.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.