Today, Memorial Day, is the day that has been set aside to remember all those men and women who have served and are currently serving in the Armed Forces to ensure our freedom and liberty – especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
My father and many of my uncles served during World War II. My dad was a corpsman in U. S. Navy and participated in the Invasion of Normandy in 1944. Having seen Saving Private Ryan, I can only begin to imagine the horrors that he must have witnessed first hand. Dad hardly ever spoke of the war; it was only when one of his old Navy buddies would show up that we would hear some of the stories.
When I was a young lad growing up in small town America, there would be a parade every Memorial Day. The parade would consist of a color guard, a marching band, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, National Guard with their “army trucks”, town dignitaries riding in convertibles, and the Broiler Queen with the fire trucks pulling up the rear. It would begin just outside of town on High Street and march to the center of town, turn left at Main Street, march past the Post Office, and up the hill to the Cemetery where a twenty-one gun salute would take place.
Our family would visit my grandfather’s grave and place flowers and a flag next to the headstone – he served in World War I. The day was, in fact, set aside as a day to honor those generations who went before us and valiantly fought to protect our way of life.
So, today let us not forget. Take some time to reflect on what it means to be an American and how blessed we are because of the men and women who were willing to give their time and lives in order that we can continue to live in this great land of ours. A great big THANK YOU to all of you.