I am sure that when Billy Duncan started “Coffee Call” he never imagined it would turn into one of the best events the museum would host. I think sometimes because we are so close to it we forget what a special gathering it truly is. I guess it takes an outsider’s point of view to bring it back home. The museum received this very special letter last week pertaining to coffee call, it was so touching that I just had to share it with everyone. Thank you all for your continued support of the museum and for your outstanding support of our monthly Coffee Call because we could not do it without our sponsors and all of the awesome people that attend monthly! Here is the letter in its entirety.
Several weeks ago my old friend and fellow worker in the military forces extended me an invitation to attend “Coffee Call”. Retired Alabama State CSM Cecil D. Monk and I have known each other since He was a Sergeant First Class and I was a Private in 1967. I went to work for Him in the COMMO Section of the HHC 1343d Engineer Battalion (Cbt), later in the S3, and finally in the Maintenance Section of the same unit.
Coffee Call is held the first Saturday of each month at the Veterans Museum in Athens, Alabama. It is sponsored by individuals and groups of the community to honor individuals who have been members of the United States Armed Forces. The event includes breakfast served “chow Line” style; the entire community is invited to attend, no charge, donations appreciated. Until CSM Monk mentioned it I wasn’t aware such an event takes place. I accepted the invitation. This month’s Coffee Call was sponsored by Kristi Valls and CSM Monk.
While I have not attended a Coffee Call I have visited the museum. It is a wonderful place, filled with hundreds if not thousands of items used by our Armed Forces Members over the last century. It is also a place dedicated to the members of the community and our nation who worked as members of our Armed Forces. Many of whom have labored so long and hard that we enjoy the freedom and liberty of this great country.
For a small town such as Athens on a holiday weekend the event was well attended. There were 130+ folks joining in fellowship and remembrance. A son of my father’s first cousin who is lifelong resident of Athens, Jerry Crabtree, is President of the Museum and brought the Call to Order. As the National Anthem played Jerry lead us in the presentation of the Flag. After the Anthem finished, Taps was played to honor our deceased comrades. Then Jerry invited the Chaplin to offer prayer which He did. Jerry then announced it time to “fall in” to the chow line and enjoy a breakfast of sausage, biscuits, gravy, grits, assorted sweet rolls, OJ, and of course coffee. The meal was tasty, and the fellowship of seeing old friends was very nice.
It was a very humbling experience to rise, come to attention and render a hand salute as the Anthem played and the Flag was presented, Taps honored our recent and long dead comrades to whom we owe such a debt of gratitude. What an honor to stand among men and women of all stripes and pay homage, honor, and respect to our country and each other. I looked out over that crowed and saw people of our community who get up every morning, go to work, contribute to improve and sustain their community, set positive moral examples for our youth, love and care for their parents, wives, husbands, children, and the way of life we enjoy. Many of whom have done so by membership in our Nations Armed Forces. Yes, that group was just a small slice of Americana: just plain, old, ordinary, everyday, garden variety Americans. So, what is so special about them? EVERYTHING!
Thank you again, and please join us the first Saturday of each month for a little food and lots of fellowship!
By: Sandra Thompson, Director, Alabama Veterans’ Museum