Military supporter reflects on meaning of Memorial Day

Telegraph correspondentMay 25, 2014 

Dr. Dan Callahan talks in 2004 about creating the EDIMGIAFAD slogan.

TELEGRAPH FILE

When it comes to appreciating the military community in Middle Georgia, one name is often mentioned: Dr. Dan Callahan of Centerville.

Callahan coined the phrase “EDIMGIAFAD” -- or Every Day in Middle Georgia is Armed Forces Appreciation Day -- in 1968 to honor Vietnam veterans returning during turbulent times. (The letters “AF” originally stood for Air Force.) Callahan, a World War II veteran, has spent years supporting the Middle Georgia military community. Now at age 90 he still takes the time to show his appreciation to all who serve.

“It is an honor, a duty and an obligation to honor those who paid the ultimate price,” said Callahan, when asked what Memorial Day means to him.

In honor of Memorial Day, each year Callahan attends the Camellia Gardens Memorial Service at Robins Air Force Base, where two millstones sit: one in honor of his brother-in-law, who served in the Navy and another in honor of his brother, who served in the Air Corps.

Callahan admits that getting to events to honor military members has gotten trickier as he ages, but as long as he can secure a driver, Callahan says nothing can keep him away.

Callahan said he is disappointed each year as he observes droves of people not honoring the true purpose of the holiday.

“I will say a silent prayer when I see people using the day for something it is not created for,” Callahan said.

He believes people should put fallen troops above all else on Memorial Day.

“I am dismayed that most people observe Memorial Day with a picnic, fishing or with sporting events when really the day was created to remember our fallen brothers,” Callahan said.

Callahan plans to spend Memorial Day visiting the graves at a national cemetery to show his gratitude for the service members buried there.

“The appreciation does not stop when they are laid to rest, and we need to continue to be mindful that they paid the final price,” he said.

Callahan said Memorial Day is also a time to remember the families left behind by those who sacrificed their lives in military service. He added taking care of these families is the perfect way to memorialize those lost.

“Our founding fathers laid the groundwork for Memorial Day when they said, ‘We have an obligation to take care of our fallen’s widows and orphans,’” he said.

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