PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Officials with the Crowley's Ridge State Park said Saturday the park is filled to capacity this Memorial Day weekend. According to Heather Runyan, Parks Interpreter, all 26 camp sites are booked and people are pitching tents in other areas of the park. One pavilion has been rented out by the Textor family, who has lived in northeast Arkansas for the last 60 years.
"We come back to meet with them and we keep familiar, and I think, you know, family is important," said Textor.
Textor said every Memorial Day weekend is important to him. He was stationed in Seoul, South Korea during the Vietnam War. When he was drafted, he met many colleagues in basic training that he is still friends with today; however, some of his friends didn't make it through the war.
"Several of them, we were planning to keep in touch with each other and of course I kept in touch with their family afterwards," said Textor.
When Textor made it back stateside, he was greeted with protests and public outrage. Since his return, he said he's tried to honor the men and women who serve in the United States military.
"A lot of them sacrificed their life and they would do it again in a minute, if I was of age, I wouldn't mind doing it again but gladly, but, you know, they laid down their life for us, and we just pass it up and don't really think about it," said Textor.
Textor has family from all across the southern United States. His family is from Florida, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas and Georgia.
"We decided at that time that we should get together every year here in Paragould so we came out here to Crowley's Ridge, as a matter of fact, they know us by name down at the park rangers station because we have it, one of the pavilions and a group area, every year," said Textor. "Everybody is so concerned with their own activities and we forget to honor the others a lot."
Runyan said many people don't realize the importance of Memorial Day weekend.
"Especially right now we have a lot of people over in different countries in the armed services and I think it's very important for us to remember that," said Runyan.
Runyan said people have planned to mark Memorial Day as their official start to summer since the beginning of the year.
"Memorial day weekend is probably the busiest weekend we have of the whole year, so we gets sites booked weeks in advance, sometimes months in advance for this weekend," said Runyan.
Runyan said she was concerned the park may not be open for Memorial Day weekend earlier this year. The January ice storm caused much destruction across the park and Crowley's Ridge State Park wasn't able to open until early April.
"For most people it's just about getting away, it's a nice place where they can get out they can do a little camping, swim, maybe rent a paddle boat, and then of course there's all the programs that we're offering especially this weekend," said Runyan.
"This year and every year, I really feel like that, well I feel as a country, we don't give the veterans enough honor," said Textor. "I think we should put a little more thought into it and be thankful for the guys, whether they laid down their life or not, but just were willing to do it."