May 2022


Huckabee, as the guest speaker for that event. Mr. Buster fondly recalls personally placing the flags along each side of the drive at Hillcrest that first year. “I wanted to pay honor to all the veterans who made the supreme sacrifice and to those who are currently serving and are away.” He said he got emotional just thinking about it. “It’s not just a holiday for gathering and picnics; people need to take time out of the day to remember and pay tribute. It was truly my honor to be able to do this, and I hope it continues for many, many years.” Over the past thirty years, there have been many changes in the annual service-many guest speakers with many new traditions-but what has not changed is the Fuqua family and Texarkana Funeral Home’s commitment to veterans. President of Texarkana Funeral Home, Vickers Fuqua, is the third generation to lead his family’s business. Mr. Fuqua carries on the tradition of honoring veterans with the Memorial Day service established by his father three decades ago. He has surrounded himself with a staff who are as committed to this special event as he is and looks for ways to increase their support of veterans. A lot of time and energy goes into planning a service like this. It involves communicating with local veterans who assist with the event, finding a guest speaker and ensuring all graves are freshly mowed for Memorial Day weekend. It would not be possible without the help and input of everyone involved. In addition to

the breathtaking avenue of flags placed along the drive of the cemetery, over 1,000 flags mark each veteran’s grave at Hillcrest Cemetery. It is a tremendous undertaking, but it is something the employees enjoy doing with their families. Former Manager of Texarkana Funeral Home—Arkansas, Eddie Hawkins, reflected on over 25 years of working the Memorial Day Service. “It is such an honor to recognize all of our veterans, those gone before us and those that are still with us. Our veterans have given so much to allow us the freedoms we enjoy today.” Heather Kiser, Manager of Chapelwood Funeral Home, has been helping with the Memorial Day service for eight years. She expressed the importance of keeping this tradition alive and making sure the younger generation understands and remembers. Mrs. Kiser said working on the Memorial Day Service is “her favorite thing to do.” Mr. Fuqua also discussed the importance of involving the local veterans in planning the service. He explained, “Each year, we look for ways to make it better.” Specific symbolic gestures that honor military traditions need to be executed correctly, and veterans know how it should be done. Mr. Fuqua said, “It’s for the veterans, and we want to make sure we honor them. We tell them, if there is something we need to do differently, we want to know.” Local veteran Charles Jordan weighed in on the Memorial Day service, stressing that these events are important for helping the community remember who veterans are. “If the community takes time to acknowledge


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