BURLESON – Monday, marks Memorial Day 2017.
Many spend Memorial Day weekend simply enjoying the holiday with barbecues and fun. For those who served in the military, Memorial Day means much more than the official start of summer.
This three day weekend is spent remembering friends, colleagues or family members lost in combat while reflecting on the oftentimes life-changing memories from their own service.
In honor of those who risked their lives to serve their country, Mustang Creek Estates of Burleson is hosting a free Veteran and Memorial Appreciation Cook-out and flag ceremony on Thursday, May 25, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 1155 NW John Jones in Burleson.
Attendees are asked to RSVP by contacting Madison Forrest, activity coordinator at Mustang Creek Estates of Burleson, at 682-401-5302.
“We want to show our appreciation to all those heroic hearts who risked their lives to protect our country. We want to remember all of the honorable men and women lost in combat,” said Kevin Willmeth, executive director of Mustang Creek Estates of Burleson. “By hosting this event, we hope to let our veteran residents and the veteran guests know how much their service means to us and how thankful we are for their sacrifice.”
Mustang Creek of Burleson is partnering with the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and the Boy and Girl Scouts for this special event.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. will perform a flag ceremony. This event is open to the public. Veterans and first responders are especially invited.
This initiative especially means a lot to Air Force veteran Phil Block, resident of Mustang Creek Estates of Burleson. Block served in the Vietnam War during the early 1960s. He spent four years on a top-secret mission and was unable to discuss any details of his service for 20 years. As surprising as it may seem, this will be the first official recognition he will receive for his service.
“It is wonderful that the community decided to host an event that gives recognition to people who fought for our country,” said Block. “Memorial Day should be a time to remember not only those who died in the service, but also those who lost friends in battle and are home now and might feel forgotten.”
Block was stationed at an Air Force base in Montgomery, Alabama in 1960 where he was assigned to the printing press. Part of a secret mission, his job was to spread leaflet propaganda, under cover of darkness, from the back of a military plane. The leaflets were printed in Vietnamese. He says he never knew what they said.
“When my dad would ask me where I was or what I was doing, I would say I was just hanging out in Montgomery,” said Block. “I was on a top-secret mission and I couldn’t disclose my location to anyone, including my family. I would spend nights printing out the leaflets and flying over Vietnam throwing them out the back of an open plane. I was never afraid because I was too focused on my mission. However, I know it was a dangerous one and I am lucky to be here today.”
Block decided to join the Air Force after listening to his uncle, an Air Force veteran, tell stories from World War II. Dedication to the country runs deep in the Block family. Block’s son served and retired from the Air Force Reserve, and his grandson recently received an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. To him, Memorial Day has a special meaning, and he will spend it with other veteran friends and neighbors at Mustang Creek Estates of Burleson.
“Our family has spent many years dedicated to service, and I will pause on Memorial Day to honor those who sacrificed their lives and continue to do so for our freedom,” said Block. “I encourage other people across the city to do the same.”