The words are etched on marble and in my mind.
They’re on the veterans monument that stands sentinel on the Green Bridge as thousands of motorists head northbound daily.
“Call Out Our Name As the Years Go By.
“Remember Us And We Shall Never Die.”
A touchstone that tells us that, truly, Memorial Day is not just once a year.
It’s uncanny how we get reminded like that.
Sometimes it’s a small thing that catches you in moments of reflection.
Like a picture card for U.S. Marine Pfc. Christopher Cobb in his dress uniform. It had been left on the lighted table near the door of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church chapel on a Monday morning early last month.
It was the fifth anniversary of Cobb’s death.
A Bayshore High graduate, he was killed in a fire fight April 6, 2004, in Ramadi, Iraq.
Christopher Cobb was 19.
Some reminders are right in front of you and stop you cold.
I was at Palmetto High a few weeks ago, chatting up a college recruiter when I noticed a large window display behind him in the school lobby.
It was dedicated to Paul Mardis Jr., a 1997 graduate.
He was a Green Beret who died July 15, 2004, from wounds suffered in an IED explosion during his second tour in Iraq.
The display’s mementos are keepsakes of a brave young man.
His graduation portrait.
A photo of him in combat gear.
His black No. 54 home game jersey with “Tigers” across its chest.
His Purple Heart, other commendations and Special Forces patch.
His block “P” varsity letter.
Paul Mardis was 25.
They were young men, too, whose names grace a smaller memorial at the Green Bridge monument.
It lists Palmetto’s 86 World War I veterans.
Seven who made the ultimate sacrifice have stars.
Percy F. Cox.
George W. Frost.
A. Lesley Harllee.
Percy H. Smith.
Charles A. Sparkman.
Call out their names as the years go.
Remember them and they shall never die.
Mannix About Manatee, by local columnist Vin Mannix,is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a phone number for verification.