EL PASO, Texas - For most people, Memorial Day is about spending time with friends, family, and loved ones, maybe breaking out the grill, and getting a long holiday. But the meaning behind Memorial Day is to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
It's on this occasion that a group of El Pasoans gathered to learn more about the sacrifice and traditions that some say made our nation's existence possible.
At the El Paso Community College Law Enforcement Training Academy range on the Mission del Paso campus, about a dozen El Pasoans spent their Memorial Day weekend a little differently - learning how to become a rifleman or woman.
"A lot of people give July 4, 1776 as the birth of this nation," said Orie Adcock, shoot boss with Project Appleseed. "But we became Americans on April 19, 1775."
That's when the "shot heard round the world" took place as then-colonists resisted the British redcoats on Lexington green, kicking off the American Revolution. It's used as a teaching tool by the Revolutionary War Veterans Association in small classes like the one taking place in El Paso and across the country.
The instructors in the class said it's as much about civics as it is marksmanship, teaching the values this country was founded on, along with better shooting.
"It's not something you can necessarily learn off of a video game," Adcock said. "It's something that's got to be done, physically done. And there's a lot of little details to it, to be an excellent rifleman. And that's what we want, to at least give them the tools that they need to become an excellent rifleman shot if they are so inclined to do so."
Organizers are hoping this two-day class will help attract more to future events in our area. The Memorial Day weekend event drew out young and old, veterans and civilians alike to learn more about shooting and our history.
"They give person-to-person help to everyone," said Kevin G. Pitts, who brought along his 7-year-old son Kevin Patrick Pitts."And they're giving my son Kevin a lot of instruction."
"I think it's a really good thing," said Vivian Myers, a new rifle shooter. "It's good to teach people how to shoot with proper technique and with like these traditional techniques. It think it's a very good thing and I don't know, I've just had a lot of fun so far."
"The stuff they show me," said Kevin Patrick Pitts, "I learn more how to shoot, and be better."
To learn more about Project Appleseed, you can visit the group's website here.