Local Gold Star family member plans Memorial Day service – Salisbury Post
SALISBURY – On a mission to improve awareness and appreciation of Memorial Day, Michael Chapman has ambitions to form a national organization that will increase education on the importance of the day across the country.
But first, it will start with a more local effort.
Chapman will hold a service of remembrance and honor at Happy’s Farm at noon on May 31. The event will feature guest speaker Rodney Cress, recipient of a Bronze Star for his bravery for his service in the Vietnam War and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for veteran defense. Gold Star families, those who have lost a family member in battle, will receive a free lunch in Culver after the service.
Chapman has been a strong advocate for Memorial Day awareness since his younger brother, Staff Sgt. Christopher Chapman, was killed in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Over the years, Chapman said, Americans have lost sight of what Memorial Day really means.
“Memorial Day is one of those holidays where no one understands what it’s really about,” Chapman said. “They think it’s about honoring veterans. Businesses use it as a day to sell mattresses, a day to sell cars. In all of these advertisements, you will see things like “Happy Memorial Day”. We would like to thank all of the veterans who served. This is not the purpose of Memorial Day. “
The purpose of Memorial Day, he said, is to honor people like his brother, who died while serving in the US military.
Chapman’s upcoming Memorial Day service is just the latest way he has attempted to commemorate those who have died in action. Five years ago, while working as a director for Mattress Firm, Chapman took a different route by decorating the store’s windows for the holidays.
“I erected a memorial wall and invited all Gold Star veterans or family members or those who had deceased friends or loved ones to post pictures of their loved ones,” Chapman said.
Its display, he said, has been recognized by the company as one of the best in the country.
A few years later, Chapman was also integral to North Carolina’s decision to create a traveling Persian Gulf War memorial. North Carolina used $ 100,000 donated by Kuwait, which America liberated from Iraq during the Persian Gulf War, to create the exhibit. Chapman visited the panels at the Price of Freedom Museum in China Grove.
For years, Chapman has said he has reached out to political leaders in states and countries to seek support for the creation of an Honorary Memorial Day commission. The commission would work to educate members of the public, businesses and students about Memorial Day.
The commission would serve a similar purpose: White House Commission on Remembrance, which was established in 2000 with legislation establishing a national moment of remembrance at 3 p.m. on Remembrance Day. However, Chapman said this new commission will succeed where he thinks the other failed.
“It wasn’t broadcast in rural communities, it didn’t accomplish everything it needed,” Chapman said. “It did not work. It didn’t run like a substantial business to go out and do the right thing. He stayed within the Washington, DC area limits.
So far, Chapman has said he has gained little strength for his commission while speaking to North Carolina senators and members of Congress.
Chapman’s conversations with officials from US Representative Ted Budd’s office seem to have given some movement. Budd plans to introduce a resolution next week outlining the true purpose of Memorial Day, as well as the fallen servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice in battle.
As he continues to work toward his goal of establishing the commission, Chapman said he would continue to commemorate those who died in the military. Chapman’s Memorial Day service will be held at noon at Happy Farm’s located at 985 Parks Road in Salisbury. Chapman asks attendees to register by calling 704-856-0025 or emailing [email protected]