What a glorious Memorial Day weekend! Whether you were vacationing, grilling out, or just doing yard work, you had to admire the spectacular weather. Like many, we headed south for the weekend to P.C. Beach where the ocean was fabulous. The water was the clearest I had ever seen it. There’s just something soothing and mesmerizing about watching those waves roll in. Kinda serves a type of therapy for me…
It was also nice to see the show of patriotism as we rode through many towns. I cannot count the number of flags I saw on display in honor of our fallen heroes. Regardless of what you did this weekend, I hope you remembered the true meaning of this day. We wouldn’t be enjoying the freedom we do today without their sacrifice.
I understand the very first Memorial Day Service that took place on Sunday, May 26th at the Veterans Memorial Park had a nice turnout. Special Thanks go out to Lonnie Schlosser and the Clay County VFW Post 9581 for their hard work in making this event a success. I hope it is the first of many…
Memorial Day brought about a surprise to one former Clay Countian. Mr. Jason Hendrix of Oxford, AL, a tremendous patriot for all Veterans, was honored with a special keepsake. Lineville Native Nicholas (Nic) Hunt, of the 167th Infantry Unit E-Company in Talladega, AL presented Hendrix with an American flag signed by all members of this unit in front of a small crowd at the Veteran’s Memorial Park. This flag was also paperwork certified from commanding Officers to have been carried through several missions in Afghanistan. Hunt had returned home with his Unit recently from a nine month deployment in Afghanistan. This was the very first face to face meeting for Nic and Jason, although they chatted regularly through Facebook during Hunt’s deployment. They met through a mutual friend, Nic’s father, Jim Hunt, and struck up an instant friendship.
The location of this informal ceremony, seemed most fitting with four generations of Jason’s ancestors written in stone on the Wall of Honor that stood in the background. Some of Jason’s relatives had even driven quite a distance to see such a special family member honored in such a way. Representative Steve Hurst also presented Jason with a special commemorative coin from “The Sooner Sailors” on behalf of Retired US Navy Chief Petty Officer Chris Peyton, of Moore, Oklahoma, in recognition of Jason’s patriotism. Hendrix was overjoyed to have received such invaluable gifts. And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.
Jason may have never served in the military, but he holds a deep respect for those who do and comes from a long line of great men who have: his father, Garry Hendrix, both grandfathers, Felix Hendrix and John F. Sprayberry, Great Uncle Euless Sprayberry, Jesse Lee Sprayberry, William Clayton (Johnnie) Sprayberry, and Otis Rooks, as well as numerous cousins. And finally, possibly his greatest influence, his Uncle Bill Sprayberry, retired Chief Master Sgt of the U.S. Air Force. In fact, it was his Uncle Bill who instilled Jason’s desire to honor Veterans each year on Memorial Day by distributing American Flags to the graves of family members and also friends of family members. Each year around Memorial Day, Jason and his Uncle Bill would travel to several different cemeteries for the placement of these flags. After the flag was placed, they would each salute the fallen soldier in honor of their service to our country.
When his Uncle relocated to Oklahoma, he passed on this tradition to Jason, who has taken this task very seriously, and has not only continued it, but his list of visited gravesites has grown tremendously. This is a tradition that he holds dear to his heart for more than 10 years now. Although many have offered to provide financial assistance to help pay for the flags, Jason always covers the costs alone, an act of kindness that should never go unnoticed. Jason says it is a true honor to be able to do this for those who gave so much for our freedom. Jason also has collected a great deal of military memorabilia over the years.
41 year old Jason is loved by many. He is employed with Wal-Mart and gives his time graciously to others voluntarily through extracurricular activities. He has been an honorary “Coach” with the Oxford Yellow Jackets Football team since
his high school days, where he is affectionately known as “Hug” or “Huggins”. He has also been an assistant Coach for girls’ softball with Oxford PARD, and coached Upward Basketball at Grace Baptist Church, where he also serves as an Usher. He is considered a great friend to all who know him. Jason is also a HUGE Alabama fan.
Jason has distributed these flags to numerous cemeteries that cover four counties, but most of them in Clay County. So, if you discovered an American Flag on the grave of your loved one who served in the military and wondered about it, chances are Jason Hendrix placed it there!