Memorial Day 2015

Memorial Day

 

mrldy

 

We have our times of great joy and thankfulness that we spend with loved ones close to us. In these times of joy we prize what is important in our lives and for many it is the renewed bonding, friendship and love that cement lives and relationships. As a nation we spend vast amounts of money on these holidays to make them special and remembered.

In our often very busy lives these days, we lose our perspective from time to time. The tragedies we have seen lately rivet us back to the reality of the world we face, personally and as a nation. In times of peril we seek out comfort in our own ways, looking for reason and why. We are a strong society and we always move forward, trying not to forget but as we settle back into our lives and routines…. we do.

I do not like to call Memorial Day a holiday, it is so much more than that. This day was set aside not for the three day weekends, travel plans and cook outs. Memorial Day was christened as a day of honor to those who have stood up through our history to meet the threats that faced our nation. This is a day for reflection and remembrance of hero’s deeds and lives lost. We salute all those who served, they all sacrificed something for our protection.

bagpipers

 

 

 

 

Recently a video that went viral on You tube, Facebook, and various news services was of a siren sounding in Israel, as the whole entire country came to a complete halt to remember holocaust victims. People on the streets, in shops, at work, even the freeway stopped with all vehicles parking wherever they stopped, so people could pray and be in silence for a few minutes. It was and astonishing sight. To me this is what is deserving of our veterans for their service to America.

War movies fiction or reality based, while entertaining do not qualify as a way to spend Memorial Day. Over the years Hollywood has done its best, and sometimes worst, to make movies depicting war to be as real as possible. We have all seen just how impressive special effects have become in the attempt to shock audiences. Movies like The Sands of Iwo Jima, Platoon, and Saving Private Ryan conveyed some of the harsh realities and glimpses of what war can be like. I can tell you from the combat vets I have talked to including my father, that being in actual combat, or witnessing an atrocity, goes right to your soul. Your youthful innocence is sucked right out of you, and that is something you can never get back.

remembering-memorial-day

 

 

 

The people who volunteered to go fight, or were drafted and did their duty, or joined in peace time to stand guard over us, willingly put their lives on the line for their country. Some got to stay in the states and help strengthen our military branches. Some got deployed all over the world being gone from family and friends for months and sometimes years. These people are our first line of defense. Our military has also been all over the world helping with world tragedies, and in these cases were it not for our military the loss of life would have been much greater.

The men and women who have gone and fought, bare scars that go way deeper than what we see on the outside. There are those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us by giving their lives so we cannot just live, but enjoy and enrich our lives. Just think about that….. Let it sink in….. People GAVE their life so you can have yours! That is the ultimate gift. The way we give back is like Tom Hanks said at the end of Saving Private Ryan……”EARN THIS.”   We have to live everyday earning what they laid down for us. That is a powerful thing, and you don’t have to be a religious person to appreciate that. These heroes’ did this for you, and to not treat that gift with the utmost reverence is an injustice.

 

Authors own family flags flying among others at Memorial Day celebration in 2014

Authors own family flags flying among others at Memorial Day celebration in 2014

 

Next Memorial Day go watch a veteran’s parade, wave and smile at the vets proudly participating. Go help at a veteran’s cemetery, cleaning graves, or doing whatever needs to be done. Help organize a parade, or celebration. There are all sorts of things that need to be done in communities all over America in preparation for Memorial Day.

If you want to do one of the best things you can, go to a vet’s home or hospital and volunteer some of your time letting an old timer tell you some stories.  You really want to see something that will give you great joy? If you are ever lucky enough to hear a story told by a real combat vet, watch in their eyes as they transport themselves back to younger years and times of adventure. I guarantee it will make you proud to be an American, and you will remember the story, but more importantly you will remember the person for the rest of your life.

 

This is one day…..just one day of our lives to pay respect to the people who protected us, went without sleep, went hungry, and were thirsty, got shot at, bombed, saw detestable and ghastly things so we didn’t have to. They lost friends, their innocence, endured freezing cold and boiling heat. And some lost their very souls. Is it too much to ask that one day out of the year we put down our work, toys, and arguments, to spend a day remembering the best of our society……….our military veterans.? I think it is the LEAST we can do.

A boy Scout helps plant flags on graves near Bremerton WA.

A boy Scout helps plant flags on graves near Bremerton WA.

 

Comments are closed.