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A memorable trip to Virginia

March 31, 2013
Weirton Daily Times

Today is Easter. I won't know whether it will be warm and sunny or cool and damp as I do my column ahead. But I hope that this month goes out like a lamb, since it has been acting like a lion most of the time.

I enjoyed the story Lorrie Greene gave to members of the Smithfield United Methodist Women about the colors of jelly beans and how they corresponded to Easter.

Members were given bags of different colored jelly beans, and the member who chose the bag of black jelly beans received a door prize. Pauline Pasco was the one who liked the black candies and took it. That would have been my last choice.

Here is the Jelly Bean story called "The Colors of Easter."

Green is for the palms that they waved at him as he entered into Jerusalem.

Purple is for the wine he poured and blessed before he faced his final test.

Red is for the precious blood he shed from the crown of thorns placed on his head.

Black is for the sky as he died on the cross, suffering to redeem our loss.

Pink, yellow and orange are for the dawn that morn when the tomb was empty and hope was reborn.

White is for the dazzling light that awed all who saw him arisen - the Son of God.

-----

Last weekend was spent as our family-time Easter. We joined Jay and his family for a trip to Lynchburg, Va., to check out Liberty University, as our granddaughter, Amber, has thoughts of going there. It was very enjoyable being with the entire family, in close proximity in a van built for eight, but thankfully carrying only seven.

We celebrated an early Easter and late birthday for Jessie who had turned 17 the week before and it was very special, but a few mishaps occurred along the way.

When we met Jay in Bridgeport on Friday, Jessie was curled up in a ball and looking very pale. When questioned about her appearance, she admitted to reading a book that needed to be completed for school in the car, and it made her sick.

After about four pit stops and turning around several times, we arrived at the hotel at 2 a.m. The next morning I awoke to find that Matthew, who was sleeping in our room, had a sore throat and a fever. He perked up after some medication that Margaret had thought to bring along, and we went off to visit the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford.

The day was so warm most of us came back to the hotel with some sunburn. But it turned on us very quickly the next morning. But more about that later.

The D-Day Memorial was very touching and made one realize the supreme sacrifices that were made by young men no older than our teen-age granddaughters.

It was first explained by the guide to the 20 people on the tour that D-Day designates the day of a military operation, and H-Hour designates the time it is to be initiated. But not wanting the enemy to know the day and time of the invasion that was the most difficult day of World War II, the letters had no significance beyond them being the first letters in the words day and hour.

The beach scene at the memorial represents all five beaches of the invasion: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

The city of Bedford was selected as the home of the National D-Day Memorial in honor of the soldiers it provided from Company A, to the 29th Infantry Division when the National Guard's 116th Infantry Regiment was activated Feb. 3, 1941.

Some 30 Bedford soldiers were in the company on D-Day when the British Navy's 551st Assault Flotilla, Company A of the 116th Infantry Regiment, landed on Omaha Beach in the first wave of the battle. By day's end, 19 of Bedford's soldiers were dead. Bedford's population in 1944 was 3,200. Proportionally, the community suffered the nation's severest D-Day losses and recognized as emblematic of all communities large and small whose citizens-soldiers served on D-Day, so Congress warranted the establishment of the National D-Day Memorial there.

I was impressed with a monument of soldiers in battle, with one wearing an actual gold wedding band on his hand. It seems that at the time of its unveiling, a woman approached the sculptor and said that she had just buried her military husband and she would like to present his wedding ring to be included with the monument. It is on the left hand of one of the men in battle and fashioned in a way that it cannot be removed.

The beach tableau called Scaling the Wall impressed and terrified me. The soldiers are trying to scale a sheer wall and it shows some falling off because the attempt was so treacherous.

There is a beach tableau showing the water at early flood tide, with two hedgehogs set in the tidal flats to scuttle landing craft. The soldiers shown advancing ahead expresses valor, the soldier wading in through waist-deep water is fidelity, and the dead soldier is sacrifice.

You walk away with a deep respect for those who fought and gave their lives for our freedom.

Sunday was to be a leisure time. Amber was to go to the college to see and get a feel for its environment. Early on a small amount of snow started to fall. We laughed and said it would probably start falling harder. Bad thought because it did just that. In looking at the area weather, it showed heavy snow in Lynchsburg and surrounding areas but in the mountains, it was only rain.

Since it was the mountains we feared most when covered with snow, we decided to pile everything in the van and make haste for Ohio.

I am sure we resembled the Griswold family as we scurried through the lobby. Sleeves and socks were hanging out of the travel totes, some family members had their shoes untied, nice hair-dos were not the order of the day, and I was carrying a can of powdered Chai tea and an over-ripe banana.

Needless to say, it was snowing in the mountains, heavily at times and the roads were covered - but Jay persevered. We made two necessary pit stops and another to grab some late lunch and made it home in less than eight hours.

Matthew was to stay with us as the family traveled on to Indiana to look at Grace College on Tuesday, and we had great plans together but he awakened on Monday even more sick then before. So we drove him to Zanesville to meet his dad to go to his doctor.

We couldn't leave the area before stopping at a McDonald's, though, as Matthew is a fan of its hot fudge sundaes.

When we arrived at the Zanesville location, Jay said, "You stopped at McDonald's in Martins Ferry, didn't you?"

My question was, "How did you know?"

"Because you left your camera bag back there, and they called me to let you know," he said smugly. I had not missed it up to that point.

I have to commend the McDonald's employees. They looked to see who the bag belonged to and called the first person with the name of McCoy to tell them. And with luck, it happened to be Jay.

I stopped back to retrieve it, and it was all intact. I commend the employees. I asked who had turned it in, if it had been an employee or someone they knew. I wanted to reward them. But the manager said that it was a customer he was not familiar with.

I have one last comment about our trip. Our room was the March Madness hangout, with the males making themselves comfortable on the two beds and cheering or complaining our entire free time.

And driving home, the Ohio State basketball game was on, and there were as many white knuckles over the close game near the end as the roads.

-----

Professional baseball season will be starting tomorrow, and I know that my grandson, Matthew, has been playing baseball for several weeks in Dublin and Westerville.

He was quite an excited young man several weeks ago when he traveled with friends from the Grace Brethren Church to Dayton, Tenn., to see their son, Ike Myers, practicing at Bryan College.

Matthew watched practice with rapt attention and after it was over, he was invited by Ike to come on the field and do some pitching. This was a big highlight of his sports years. He still has a smile on his face.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is food editor and a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com.)

 
 

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