Episode-183- Celebrate Memorial Day With My Father

The Fallen And Their Gear
The Fallen And Their Gear

It’s Memorial Day Weekend and a Monday so the honey Bee episdoe I am working on will have to wait. Once again I am fortunate to celebrate and remember the fallen our nation owes so much to with my father. He is a World War II Army Infantry veteran who saw the worse of humanity in one of its most tragic times. It is humbling for me to be in his presence as he seeks to instill in those he meets gratefulness for the fallen, the injured and the forgotten troops of yesteryear and today. When I was  kid I used to place flags on the graves of veterans in my hometown with my brothers. It was an act of remembrance I looked forward as I always had a special place in my heart for veterans. I used to think they were all heroes who had done miraculous deeds under impossible circumstances. But as I grew older and became a soldier myself I realized veterans and those killed and wounded while wearing the uniform were just ordinary people who carried out their duties in extraordinary situations.

My father used to organize the annual Memorial Day parade and give speeches to those who would listen about how they should remember the debt of gratitude they can never repay to those who didn’t come home literally and figuratively. Watching films of beeches being stormed used to be entertainment for me but I know better now. John Wayne got rich while the men he portrayed never did.

My father doesn’t manage the parade anymore but instead for the past three years he has spent Memorial Day with my family and I in our nation’s capitol. This year we are doing something different and reaching further into our past to remember those of the revolution and other wars long past. Being in the nation’s Historic Triangle of Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg Virginia we see and understand the hardships of those days in humbling remembrance. My father’s presence adds a sense of awe and thankfulness from those who pause long enough to see what he represents. He is always sure to note that he only got in when bottom of the barrel was being scraped. That’s not quite true of course because he was a volunteer in a time of the draft. He wanted to make sure he didn’t miss out on a young man’s yearning to be part of history.

He was fooled by Hollywood too and soon saw civilized nations broken and in despair. People with nothing and nothing to look forward to. Towns with nothing left but their names. Families with nothing left but memories. Airmen, Marines, Soldiers and sailors with nothing left but their broken bodies and minds.

I remember asking him once how it was that although he he has seen the worse in people he never got consumed by the tragedy that has been an intimate part of his life. He just shook his head and said he also saw the best in people and his faith in God never wavered. Just as our faith in each other and our nation must not waver so it is true we must also not waver from the debt owed to those who gave life, limb and mental well being so we may spend our days in better times.

Get a package in the mail to a troop overseas. Send one anytime! It’s not about the war but the warrior.


Song of The Day – Fanfare For The Common Man (Instrumental)

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