ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Memorial Day Memories

Updated on May 26, 2010

In Flander's Field

"In Flanders fields the poppies blow  Between the crosses, row on row,"
John McCrae's poem inspired the sale of poppies to observe Memorial Day and honor those military service people who gave the ultimate for their country.  Eight hundred fifty World War II veterans die every day (estimated).  A year ago the median age of a World War II veteran was 86.  As of September 30, 2009 there were approximately 2,272,000 living. Using the 850 per day figure, that puts the number still alive down to 2.1 million -- but as they get older, the daily death rate will most likely increase.

When I first heard those numbers, they seemed high, until it was pointed out that more than 16,000,000 Americans had seen action in World War II.  One of them was James Hyatt. Hyatt served in the U.S. Army Signal Corp.  His unit was in Patton's Third Army and responsible for land communications such as telephones.
After the war, Hyatt returned to the mountains of Western North Carolina and with his wife became well known in square dance and clogging organizations.  His street was eventually named for his avocation as a "dance caller".  In retirement from his civilian occupation, he developed COPD and always had an oxygen tank nearby. 

U.S. Marine Band leads the parade.
U.S. Marine Band leads the parade.

State Senator Joe Sam Queen

Instrumental in organizing parade.
Instrumental in organizing parade.

 North Carolina State Senator Joe Sam Queen, a long-time family friend of Hyatt's was instrumental in organizing the 2008 Memorial Day Parade in  Waynesville, NC.  Queen was surprised and enthusiastic about Mr. Hyatt's extemporaneous participation in the parade.  Hyatt and his family were seated on the parade route enjoying the show, when Hyatt made the decision not to let this parade continue without him.

 The end of the parade was approaching, so Hyatt grabbed his portable oxygen tank and got to his feet. He stepped off the curb and began his march down Main Street behind the last unit.  Hyatt’s spontaneous participation was a fresh and unexpected surprise.  Everyone thought the parade was over.  The crowd lining the parade route experienced a contagious emotional reaction that began with smiles, waves, and cheers. For many observers, Hyatt personified their patriotism, loyalty, and resolve. A young boy joined him and waved a flag.  Many veterans and supporters stepped out into the street and shook his hand; many saluted. When he reached the end of the parade route, there was scarcely a dry eye on Main Street.

Last week I had the chance to speak to Senator Queen about his long-time family friend. "Mr. Jim was a great man -- a great mountain man.  He was a great square dancer and caller.  Our families go way back. He was a dear friend.  He was a loyal patriot and loved his country." 

Hyatt's march inspires the crowd.

Image Copyright 2008 Etier Photography
Image Copyright 2008 Etier Photography

Mr. Hyatt’s decision to join this parade was timely. He died on July 19, 2008 leaving us this timeless image of dignity, courage, and determination as he passed the torch to the next generation.

"The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields."

Veteran Status

Regarding World War II:

See results

Buy related items at Amazon

America at War in Color: Unique Images of the American Experience in World War II
America at War in Color: Unique Images of the American Experience in World War II
Great COLOR photos. See the war the way the soldiers saw it. Not in black and white.

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)