ANDERSON — May 23 was a few days early for Memorial Day but the festivities embodied the spirit of the holiday, honoring lost veterans in remembrance.
Richard Campbell Veterans Nursing Home in Anderson County was the location of a unique memorial service in conjunction with Patriot Healthcare as friends, family members, staff members and veterans gathered to remember those lost in the last year, as well as those from years gone by.
“Memorial Day to me means something different, being an administrator in this building and a veteran myself,” Administrator Greg Osborne said. “Memorial Day is to remember the veterans who have passed. Here we have mostly the older generation from Korea and World War II and we better enjoy this generation while we can.”
According to Osborne, there are approximately 1,500 World War II veterans lost on a daily basis in the United States.
The memorial service consisted of the reading of names of those who passed at the facility in the last year, an opportunity for family members to remember their lost veteran, and the releasing of butterflies provided by Patriot Healthcare as a remembrance of those who died over the last 12 months.
According to Osborne, more than 100 veterans died in the last year at Richard Campbell.
As for the butterflies released by friends and family members, they are meant to represent the spirit of the veterans being honored.
“The butterflies represent our patients and their release is a way to say goodbye,” said Cindy Dickard, director of Patriot Healthcare. “We feel like, for the family, it may be an opportunity to say goodbye and have the release and closure we all need.”
Though the service was for fallen veterans, for Dickard the families are just as important.
“We love our veterans and all of our patients and this is a way we can continue to honor them, their families, and the memories of those we cared for,” Dickard said. “Our caring doesn’t stop when the patient passes. We want to continue that connection with the family and this is one way we can do that, by giving them an opportunity to say thank you and goodbye.”