Memorial: serving to preserve remembrance, or of or relating to memory.
There it is. The reason for celebrating or more correctly, observing Memorial Day.
Today we look back at the price payed by our young men and women in defense of our nation, our ideals and our principles. While doing this, it would be advisable to think of the young people who now serve our nation in harm's way.
My fight was in South Viet Nam. My Dad's in India in WWII and my Granddad's in France. Today's Soldiers, Marines, Naval and Air Force personnel are in places like Kabul, Baghdad, Kuwait, Mosul, and Kirkuk. The names have changed from my era, but the challenges, dangers and opportunities remain the same.
The major challenge for me was to do my part serving my country even when I felt the war in Viet Nam was a mistake. I wonder how many of our men and women serving in the Mid-East are facing this exact same challenge today?
The danger in my war was of course that of being killed. But another danger lingered close at hand. That was the danger of becoming hardened and cynical. Of becoming trapped in a hatred for a people you knew little about. It was the danger of being so radically changed by the experience that joy and healthy living became a distant hope. I wonder how many of our young men and women are facing these exact dangers today?
The opportunity of my war was one of growth. Stress test your mettle, it hardens your nerves or undoes them. Being under fire in a war zone, even if just sitting in a bunker while rockets crash about your compound, tells you something about yourself. It also serves to give you a different outlook on life, a better perspective on what is truly important and allows you to eventually take joy in life here in the good ole USA. I sincerely hope that the young people serving in our armed forces will see the opportunity and take it.
Our country is in dire need of the exuberance, energy and optimism that only someone who had faced the possibility of death and lived through it can bring to bear.
While I think of all the young lives tragically lost in my war and the ones currently being lost in theirs, I remain hopeful that the majority of those serving will come back with renewed hope and vigor in setting our nation on a course of honor and prosperity.
God Bless all who have served and are now serving.