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Patriotism alive and well at Greenspring

May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country! ~Daniel Webster This July 4th, Americans will celebrate the freedoms granted by our forefathers and protected by our military with a host of parades and fireworks. Recognizing that this show of patriotism should be alive and well every day, members ofGreenspring, an Erickson Living community in Springfield, Va., recently came together to honor their own who bravely served their country. The celebration began with an expo put on by the community s six resident-led military groups, followed by a luncheon and viewing of the documentaryHonor Flight. The festivities concluded with an informative question and answer session led by the film s producer, Clay Broga.

Time to share

As the day began, Greenspring s six military groups Women in Military Service (WIMS), Greenspring Marines, the Naval History and Heritage Group, American Legion, Greenspring Post 123, the Aero Club, and the Daughters of the American Revolution set up tables and shared with their neighbors and prospective residents their experiences and their individual group s focus. Eck Muessig, who served in the Marines, landing on Okinawa on April 1, 1945, started the Greenspring Marines nine years ago. Each year on November 10 (the Marine Corps birthday), we celebrate with a formal dinner, he says. Marines, spouses, and widows are invited. We do not hold formal meetings, but from time to time, we will get together and visit the Marine Corps Museum or the FBI Headquarters.

Private screening

After all the groups had an opportunity to share, guests enjoyed a private screening ofHonor Flight, a documentary about four living World War II veterans and a Midwest community coming together to give those veterans a trip of a lifetime to the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C. For the veterans who live at Greenspring, a trip to the memorial requires a lot less planning. Last fall, 18 of the community s World War II veterans visited the memorial, located less than ten miles from the community, and shared their personal stories with the Meet the Veterans project through the Friends of the National World War II Memorial. The Greatest Generation fought ferociously to claim the title, and its legacy must never be denied nor forgotten, says community member Michel Margosis, who, as a young Jewish boy living in Belgium at the time of its invasion by the Nazis during World War II, was forced to flee to Southern France. Michel arrived in the U.S., at age 14, in 1943. He later served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Reflections

The celebration and private screening allowed community members the opportunity to reflect on patriotism and how it has changed over the years. After the war, patriotism was at an all-time high, says Eck. But that s changed as the years have gone by, and it really bugs me. I learned from my grandchildren that the Pledge of Allegiance is not always recited at school, and each year when I attend Redskins games, I notice fewer and fewer fans taking off their hats and placing their hands over their hearts. I m happy to live at Greenspring, where the management and my neighbors foster patriotism and what it means to be an American. All of our meeting rooms have the American flags flying, and we ve had many events for our veterans. Patriotism is the glue that binds us all together. Eck s neighbors, Clint and Vickie Lambert, agree. The Fourth of July brings out the patriotic spirit in our community, says Vickie. Outside many apartment homes, my neighbors put out flags and mementos of themselves or their spouses who served in our armed forces. The Show Girls group also prepares displays in the windows of each dining room reflecting patriotic symbols and memorials. These expressions of patriotism are important because they remind us how lucky we are to be Americans and reaffirm that our country is truly the United States of America, rather than 50 individual countries. This Fourth of July, we ll say a prayer and thank God for allowing us to be Americans, says Clint.

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