EDITORIAL: Celebrating one local veteran’s cause

Posted: February 18, 2012 in Moonlight Music Festival

EDITORIAL: Celebrating one local veteran’s cause

Monday January 9, 2012

Those who cherish music, the entrepreneurial spirit and the general welfare of veterans from wars old and new will take immense satisfaction in the announcement that former Marine Caleb Duty will hold his Moonlight Music Festival at Bosque Bottoms Park in Meridian this spring. It appears that even country music entertainer and songwriter Billy Joe Shaver, of Waco, could be involved in the doings, slated for May 25-26.

We’d have a hard time imagining a more picturesque setting in our area, even if it is 45 miles northwest of Waco. Proceeds from the festival reportedly will be donated to a residential therapy program for post-traumatic stress disorder at the Waco Veterans Affairs Medical Center plus local veterans’ support groups.

Duty, who grew up in Waco and served two tours of duty in Iraq, figured in one of the sadder moments in 2011 annals when he got swept up in a controversy in the city of Robinson about plans to mount just such a festival on the Duty family’s 121-acre spread on the outskirts of town. In the end, after two stormy meetings at City Hall involving plenty of citizen outrage, the town council killed the proposed permit.

Bosque County Judge Cole Word rode to the rescue, inviting Duty and his Waco-based family to consider Bosque Bottoms Park. Besides music, the festival will include a classic car show, horseshoe tournament and a barbecue cookoff to qualify regional cooks for the National Championship Barbecue Cookoff, held the fourth weekend of October also in Meridian.

Anyone who can even imagine the trials and tribulations that military personnel face in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan can’t help but celebrate that Duty is realizing both a dream and a debt of honor.

One final point about the good citizens of Robinson whose protests precipitated the Robinson City Council’s decision to kill Duty’s proposed permit. From our attendance at the council meeting, it was obvious the permit under consideration was not for one individual festival benefiting veterans but to set aside the Duty land as a venue for occasional other events over a period of time. That’s what most neighbors protested.

In any case, no one should label Robinson folks or the town council as anything less than patriotic. City leaders there have even invited Duty to return when the permit is more narrowly and specifically defined, which seems reasonable. Meanwhile, we encourage one and all to attend Duty’s festival in May, if only to see what one local veteran is capable of back home in Texas.

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