Music fest proves safe for humans, livestock

Posted: July 4, 2012 in Moonlight Music Festival

Mary Duty, Trib Board of Contributors Tuesday July 3, 2012

The Moonlight Music Fest held Memorial Day weekend in Meridian can be considered a success on many levels. Attendance was good. People left happy. The concert series even attracted foreign visitors. Folks from Canada and Germany prove Billy Joe Shaver can really draw a crowd.

Matt Alexander, our new Canadian friend, wrote: “We were blown away by the Texas hospitality! Thanks to Caleb, you, your family and the kind people of Bosque County, I met a songwriting hero of mine and left with rich memories.”

Most important of all, veterans from every conflict since World War II were honored during three days of music, games, good food and fellowship.

As readers may remember, the event was to be held at our farm near Robinson. But some residents approached the city council and voiced concerns about rowdy behavior, underage drinking, theft, vandalism and electromagnetic waves that might harm local livestock. The council voted down the plan.

Then Bosque County and the city of Meridian stepped up, offering us a location.

We’re happy to report that during the Moonlight Music Fest only two tickets were issued by the Meridian Police Department. Two young residents were cited for trying to sneak into the event. There were no other arrests for any other offense. No minor in possession. No DUI. No public intoxication. No vandalism. No complaints from neighbors about loud noise or burglary attempts. And, yes, all the livestock in the area made it through the weekend safe and sound.

And, true, five or six dogs did attend the concert, but there were no dogfights reported.

Just as Caleb vowed, it was a delightful, peaceful and thoroughly honorable event. Here’s what did happen that weekend.

Representatives from the Military Order of the Purple Heart set up the Texas Fallen Heroes Memorial Wall that honors the men and women from Texas who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. The memorial was erected in a grove of trees and gave concert-goers a place to pause and reflect.

The Meridian Volunteer Fire Department had a firetruck on display, held a raffle each night and collected donations for their benevolence fund. They were pleased.

Toward the end of Saturday night, Caleb invited all veterans in attendance to make their way to the stage. One by one they came out of the crowd. A nicely dressed older gentleman slowly made his way to the front. Then a young mom came forward with her children. A kid just back from Afghanistan joined them. Before long, the front of the stage was full of men and women, the young and not-so-young, all bound by service to country, shaking hands and hugging, laughing and sharing stories. We had vets from World War II and Korea and Vietnam, all the way to Desert Storm and Iraq and Afghanistan, and virtually any conflict in between.

Photographers captured in an instant all that Caleb fought for in his idea. Moonlight Music Fest offered a snapshot of the American Dream — children laughing and playing games, moms and dads watching their little ones spin and dance to the music, other folks sitting on the edge of the dance floor, holding hands and tapping their feet, and everyone enjoying an evening free from fear. We were living a modern-day Norman Rockwell painting. All weekend long we saw the things that men and women down through time have been willing to fight and die for.

These men and women we honored were the ones who stepped up to serve. They were the ones who ran to the sound of danger so we didn’t have to.

For one weekend, we were able to show in a very real and tangible way how much we care about them and what they were willing to do for us. The memory of their smiles and the tears in their eyes is the reason we will have a second Moonlight Music Fest.

Local educator and businesswoman Mary Duty is president of the Heart of Texas Blue Star Mothers of America. She and her son, Caleb, an Iraq war veteran, coordinated the Moonlight Music Festival during Memorial Day weekend.

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