TROY: 80 N Court Square, Troy, Pike County, Al
"COMRADESSoldiers of Pike, who fought and fell in many a bloody fray,here shall this shaft your glory tell as ages drift awayOn Fame's eternal camping ground their silent tents are spread,and glory guards with solemn round the bivouac of the deadLEST WE FORGETThis shaft is erected to honor and perpetuate thememory and valor of our confederate soldiersCSA1861 - 1885"
"Erected 1921 by the Oliver Wiley Chapter D.A.R. in honor of the men of Pike Countywho served in the World War 1914 - 1918""
There are two distinct memorial areas in downtown Troy; one at the courthouse and the other in the town square, one block east. The Civil War and World War I monuments are in the square, which offers the visitor an opportunity to sit in the shade of the many trees and contemplate life in a small town.
During my visit I walked across the street to the pharmacy lunch counter for a sandwich. All of the patrons were local residents, discussing the mundane topics of life with never a reference to the next American Idol or the state of the Republican or Democrat parties. There was no television bolted to the wall; no talking head, no graphic scroll flashing "BREAKING NEWS." It just a small collection of locals reliving a tableau that has assembled here for a century or more.
Many of the men and women honored by the memorials at the courthouse probably had fond thoughts about this shop and the scene in which I was now participating. Enjoying a quiet moment at some training station or distant duty unit often takes homesick soldiers and sailors into a pleasant daydream in which the mind builds the streets of home and populates them with friends and relatives eager to stop and talk about nothing in particular.
For those on the honor rolls of the fallen it was those dreams, those fond recollections of home and family, that kept them going toward the moment in which their dreams became a nightmare for the family at home. From that point on the family could no longer enjoy a casual encounter at a familiar location without thinking of the lost son or daughter. From that moment forward it was the folks at home that fought the battle. And for them the war never ends, because each time they see a "Go Trojans" team booster sticker they remember their fallen soldier. They remember the pride of seeing their youngster smiling as the team won a game or the band played a popular song. Their memories always end with a moment of violence that took away their child, their parent, their sibling, or a spouse.
When you are next downtown, stop at the local memorial. Find the names. Turn around and look at your hometown. Try to understand what it was that gave each of the fallen the courage to get on the bus, the train or the airplane, and leave it all behind to serve - and die. And then know it was for YOU that they left it all behind. For YOU...