Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cherish the Past; Embrace the Future

This morning some 40 of us gathered at Camp Ingersoll in Portland to pay our respects to Major Gary R. Grant, USMC. Gary’s military service and personal sacrifice were in our hearts and minds as we dedicated the camp’s flagpole in his honor. Together with friends, veterans, active duty soldiers, Middlesex YMCA staff and board, and an assortment of children of all ages, the family read aloud a touching note from Gary’s daughter Caryn who was only 2 years old when she lost her father.
Her memories of the worn tree that served as the old camp flagpole where her father’s plaque was kept were mingled with pleasant remembrances of the sights and sounds of camp. She and her brothers David and Michael found safety and solace at Camp Ingersoll when their family was reeling from the sudden loss.
We were honored to have retired and active military with us for this morning’s dedication. Guests tramped up a slight hill to the amphitheater in the crisp November morning to bear tribute to Gary’s successful efforts to save a team of stranded Marines on a mountain in Viet Nam. The sun shone brightly and we listened and laughed and wiped our tears when the flag was raised and Taps was played.
The children waited patiently for the ceremony to conclude and we made our way to the pavilion for hot cider and blueberry buckle cake. The flagpole stands at the new amphitheater where the next generation of camp kids will put on skits, try on new skills and sit under the stars to make memories that will last as long as they do. Today we cherished our past and remembered our loved ones and fallen heroes. And today we embraced the future where kids will grow and dream and play.

Judy Hall, DSW
Director of Development
Middlesex YMCA