Too many people think of Memorial Day as the weekend that kicks off the summer season, but my mother is spending part of the day at the National Cemetery in Bourne, MA, where my father is buried, having served in the Korean War. Let us not forget the true meaning behind Memorial Day.
If you look up the definition of “soldier” in the dictionary, it will say: an enlisted man or woman, a skilled warrior, someone engaged in military service. Why doesn’t it mention bravery, honor, or sacrifice?
If you are a history buff and have read the stories about the men who served in Vietnam or today’s men and woman serving in Afghanistan, you realize that the definition of soldier lacks the obvious. These people have superior discipline and are far above average in ability, when it comes to having courage and valuing honor.
You may know someone who was a soldier or is presently serving; maybe it’s your son or daughter. I’m sure you are spending today thinking about them and admiring their tenacity and patriotic spirit, or you may be missing them because they never returned home from the war. They made an ultimate sacrifice for the good of their country or for insuring freedom for others.
To listen to an elderly gentleman recall the events of Pearl Harbor or battles he fought in the Pacific, you realize that the individual was probably just a kid himself when he faced these dangers in an unknown land. He might have watched helplessly as a friend slowly died of bullet wounds, and he may have a scar or two himself of where shrapnel was removed from his own body, but he has no regrets for having served. He is one of the brave, the elite, who was called to serve with honor.
So, enjoy today’s cookouts and pool parties and the joy of wearing white again—but never forget the fallen and the men and women who serve in today’s military. Remember to thank them.
SOME WAR STORIES AND WEBSITES WORTH CHECKING OUT:
A fantastically detailed, well written account of Dave’s experiences during the Vietnam War, from the time he received his draft notice to the day he got to go home (Use the links at the top of the page to travel through Dave’s recollections).
“The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall USA website is dedicated to honoring those who died in the Vietnam War. Since it first went on line in 1996 it has evolved into something more. It is now also a place of healing for those affected by one of the most divisive wars in our nation’s history.”
“Since September 2006, the Department of Defense has highlighted the military men and women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in the Global War on Terror. These are our American Heroes’ stories.”
“Inspiring stories and fascinating details on the 440 American heroes of World War II who were recognized with the Congressional Medal of Honor.”
He is an acquaintance of mine, who is supremely talented at capturing what combat looks like from the fighter pilot’s perspective,. He has art work that you can enjoy or purchase. Lt. Col Mike McGee, USAF (Ret.) has a collection that is well worth checking out!