Veterans’ names etched in rock

 

 

Kim (Merrill) Crawford poses next to a list of veterans of foreign wars on the Naples Village Green. Her name is listed under Desert Storm, the war in which she served in the Air Force. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — On Sunday morning, the autumn leaves collected around the shoes of those people holding flags during the Veterans Day ceremony. Naples resident Kim (Merrill) Crawford — a veteran of Desert Storm — proudly held the Maine State flag as “Taps” began to play.

The instrument started close-up and in earnest, and then moved into the distance until the sound of traffic took over. From the very first note, Crawford’s heart sped up.

“I jump every time I hear it. It just catches me,” she said.

Later, when she looked at her own name etched in the granite — her name, one of many local veterans of foreign wars, she found it “amazing.”

“To see it is moving. To put faces to the names is just amazing ‘cause we are just everyday people,” Crawford said.

“But, they (earlier veterans) have paved their way and I am paving the way for those who will follow behind me,” she said.

As early as her teen years, Crawford said, “I just knew I was going into the Air Force. I was following in the footsteps of my big brother, my big sister, and my dad.”

She was much too young to remember the ordeal of her father’s years in the Korean War, and how the family worried for four years while he was a prisoner of war. He was one of those people who were able to come back home.

On Tuesday, her father Delvin Merrill was honored as part of an assembly at Songo Locks School.

Eighty-year-old Delvin Merrill said somehow his family members had kept the award a surprise.

“They snuck that one in on me,” he said.

He agreed that the names on the area monuments, the people who have served in the armed forces during times of war, are just ordinary people.

Still, he said he feels extraordinarily proud of his three children.

“My two girls — I am proud of them. My son spent 23 years in the Navy. Kathy was 21 years in the Air Force. Kimmie spent 20 years in the Air Force. I am very proud of all of them,” Merrill said.

Kim Crawford joined the Air Force in 1984, and she served in both Desert Storm and Desert Shield during the 1990s.

 

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