Memorial Day Memories

Memorial Day brings back a flood of memories for me from my childhood.  One of the main reasons for these memories is the fact that my father served in the USMC during World War 2.  While in the Marines, he saw active duty on Guam and Iwo Jima.  As you might imagine, like many of his comrades he rarely talked about his experiences and I can understand why as I have learned more about this war and especially these battles.  Dad remarked while he was dying that his life was all “gravy” because he never expected to come home alive from the war.

As an adult my father was an active member of the American Legion.  He did much more than pay dues.  He and my uncle, a US Navy veteran, led the effort to place flags on the graves of Veterans for the Memorial Day period.  I remember well walking many steps to place flags on graves with Legion markers and then pick them up after Memorial Day.  The flags came bundled in dozens and I cannot imaging just how many flags we would put out.

In addition to the flag work, Dad also often served in the honor guard that culminated in the firing of blank cartridges on the courthouse square on Memorial Day.  He also did this on Veterans Day and did the same for the funeral of many of his comrades who passed away before he did.  It was especially emotional for myself and my brothers when Dad’s funeral and burial took place because so many repaid the favor by attending and having the honor guard at his funeral.

One of the challenges we now face in our society is the lack of willingness for Americans to sacrifice for their country.  I know that I have become particularly self-focused and I can never be thankful enough for the service rendered by my father’s generation and those who came before and after them who served our country and who paid the ultimate price in battle.

As you read this, think about who you know that has served our country in the Armed Forces.  Whether you agree or disagree with the intent of the services, take the time to thank them for serving our country.  I cannot think of many things other than missions work that provides so much with so little return in the physical sense, but so much in the areas of honor, duty and sacrifice.

Thank you Dad for allowing me to tag along and ask so many questions about who someone was and whether you knew them.

Thank you to those who have paid the ultimate price and to those who serve our country today in domestic and foreign assignments.

My prayers go out to you.

May God Bless America for years to come.