Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Many years ago my father sat (almost completely bedridden) on the edge of the bed and was watching the news. The television was his only view of the outside world except that of the view from the window or front porch. He was a Korean War veteran. He was a U.S Marine. He was proud of the fact that he was the two previous statements.....

My next door neighbor is a World War 2 veteran and proudly displays not one, but two, American flags just outside his front door. He sometimes asks for his wallet when we go to visit him. In that wallet, in a hidden compartment, is his purple heart. We will probably never know what exactly happened to him to deserve a purple heart because he tears up and goes speechless when he shows it to us.

My great uncle fought in world war 1. I was too young to ask him about it but I can tell you that he was proud to fight for his country. He had a framed letter from former president Woodrow Wilson, hanging on the wall. That framed photo thanked him for his selfless duty to protect his country and the lives of his fellow comrades.

My cousin's husband is a Vietnam veteran. He doesn't speak of his ordeal because it is too traumatic to speak of- yet he did his duty to serve his country- that, can not be forgotten. I remember the stories of some distant relatives in the civil war that died tragically and left behind loved ones. I've heard of a great uncle that made it through the first world war to only come home and die from surgery. I've heard of an uncle that protected the military base. I know many on the internet that have loved ones serving at this very moment and I've read of the struggles and fear that those at home are feeling.... the stories go on and on....

There are thousands upon thousands of veterans in this country that gave- and are currently giving- so selflessly and deserve the honor and respect of every single American citizen. Maybe there are veterans both living and gone that didn't have family. Some were never brought home to their home country. Some are fighting as you are reading this. Some died alone in the wilderness. We should remember and honor them all.

I'll close with this little statement that has stuck in my head for many years. It was a comment that my late father said that day, when he sat on the edge of the bed, watching the news. At that time, our country was sending troops oversees. He sat almost motionless, with a distant look in his eye and proudly said, "If they called me back to duty, I'd go right now".

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