My dad and my father-in-law both served proudly in World War 2, both men were injured and lived with pain and other war-related complications and I remain convinced that this led to an early demise for both (58 yrs & 55 yrs respectively) – BUT THEY CAME HOME. Aside from the fact that neither my husband nor I would be here if they hadn’t, our families were immeasurably fortunate. But how I do miss hearing their “War Stories”, even the ones I heard over and over and sometimes a little more embellished than the time before…
I grew up during the tumultuous Vietnam era and saw friends who lost loved ones so tragically and so young and there wasn’t much I could do to comfort them from the pain they were experiencing. It was a time of protests and in-country violence and loss. And there was definitely anger over the lack of military benefits that our veterans received upon their return and the harsh words that sometimes greeted them as they walked down our city streets. I was present at the NYC “Home With Honor” parade in 1973 and we applauded the returning veterans while we remembered those who couldn’t return.
Violence was brought to our shores and we find our nation embroiled in battle again, whatever happened to the “War to End All Wars”? We have so many brave men and women who are giving their all to protect us and sometimes we suffer their losses. Memorial Day, a U.S. holiday, is a day devoted to Remembering The Fallen. Display the American Flag, “On Memorial Day, flags are flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon only, and then raised quickly to full-staff”, place flags on veterans’ graves, and attend ceremonies – above all NEVER FORGET the sacrifices made for us.
A suggestion: Memorial Day is often filled with picnics and barbecues and plans for summer fun ~ if you are planning this festive ritual this year be sure to set a place for the one who will never return, Remember the Fallen.