By: Dylan Bowman, HAHS Board Member
May 29, 2023
Remembrance First. Macaroni Later.
How often do we go through the motions? Fry a burger on the grill. Eat a hot dog. Play yard games with family and friends. Have a beer or iced tea and if we have a moment, glance at a Star Spangled Banner we hung on the porch earlier that morning and remember why we are even holding that 2nd bowl of macaroni salad in the first place.
We are a very forgetful people, there is no question. Half of us can't even remember what we ourselves did last week, and that's just human nature. But our awareness and remembrance should be demanded of Memorial Day and of its significance year-round. Without the men and women that it observes, from the past and present, it is nearly guaranteed that there would be no cookouts, no family gatherings, and no freedom in this nation we call the United States of America.
Let us never forget.
Observing Robert Geyer
On Memorial Day 2022, Halifax saw its annual Memorial Day Parade cut through town, ending at Halifax Park where a speaker discussed the importance of those souls that served our country and honoring their stories and memory.
The soul in particular that was remembered that Memorial Day was PFC Robert G. Geyer, a local veteran who served and gave the last full measure of devotion in World War II. Having joined the US Army in 1938 at the age of 18, he served from 1938 until 1944 when he was killed in the Battle of Noemfoor on August 12.
Robert Geyer (1920-1944). Photos provided by Daniel Geyer.
As Daniel Geyer, a relative from West Virginia, presented Robert's story of service and sacrifice, a crowd of well over a hundred looked on speechless in the summer sun. Geyer finished his remarks with a recital of the 503rd Parachute Infantry's (Robert Geyer's regiment) song, "The Parachute Song," which was written on the Poleau Laut while traveling from San Francisco to Cairns, Australia, by Corporal Kenneth Brown, Special Services Section, Regimental Headquarters.
The Geyer family gathered at the 2022 Halifax Memorial Day Parade and ceremony. Photo by Dylan Bowman.
After the passing of Robert Geyer's flag from the local VFW to his family and from the Geyer family to the Halifax Area Historical Society, a four-gun salute from the Halifax VFW rung out across the town. The sweet brass of taps followed, echoing into the hearts of those standing nearby.
Once the ceremony ended, the community began to wish one another and those veterans among them a happy Memorial Day and mingled with attending friends and loved ones. Those bonds that were seen among the Halifaxians that had attended the event were a pleasure beyond anything else to see.
With such fellowship and love for neighbors and countrymen, it certainly fills one with a spirit of pride to live in this country we call home. Still, it is always important to remind ourselves of men and women like Robert Geyer who served and sacrificed so much on our behalf.
Thank a serviceman or servicewoman today, even if it's not Memorial Day.
Halifaxians coming together to honor servicemen and women from the community and across the nation at the Halifax Memorial Day Parade, 2022.
(Bottom) Robert Geyer's dog tags and first Purple Heart, earned on July 3rd, 1944, from an ankle injury in the line of duty in the Battle of Noemfoor before his death.
Photos by Dylan Bowman