A tribute to a hero, James E. Hamilton.
I was showing my grandson pictures of my visit to Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse. He saw a photo of the barefooted mailman statue and asked me about it. I later picked up the booklet entitled, “Souvenir on the Barefoot Mailman.” It seems this statue was dedicated to James E. Hamilton who came from Kentucky. He traded being a farmer for a career as a Barefoot Mailman. As often is the case, the grass was not greener in his new career. He went missing during one of his 68 mile routes. A statue was erected in his honor.
Memorial Day comes just before Father’s Day. So I was thinking about Hamilton, my deceased father, and the Coast Guard servicemen. Although my father was a mail carrier, I never really thought about mail carriers and the work that they do.
Like most Americans, I often take mail delivery for granted. It may be “snail mail” but efforts to switch to five day delivery were met by protests. A couple of years ago during Christmas when FedEx and UPS failed the winter challenge, it was the postal service that rose to the occasion. Now, the postal service delivers mail seven days a week for Amazon.
I begin to notice the Coast Guard lately because the of lighthouses I wanted to paint. The more lighthouses I visited, the more insight I got into the Coast Guard. As I thought about the 1,350 miles of Florida coastline, I began to appreciate the work that the Coast Guard does.
The Coast Guard is one of the five branches of the Armed Forces and the only one within the Department of Homeland Security, according to its website. The Coast Guard is responsible for maritime safety, security, and environmental stewardship. They helped with the BP oil spill.
The Coast Guard just released information about today’s oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. According to Reuters, ”A small offshore oil platform caught fire in shallow water near the coast of Louisiana on today and a sheen was seen in the sea after workers were evacuated.” It was an unfriendly reminder on Memorial Day weekend of the vital services that the Coast Guard provides. If you go to a beach this weekend, say a word of thanks to our Coast Guard.
For more information on the many services the Coast Guard provides, check out the Coast Guard Compass blog.