Memorial Day

When my husband was serving in Vietnam, I had a dream. It was crystal clear. An Army Officer came to my front door. I could read his last name on his uniform, and I knew he was there to tell me bad news.

Luckily, that dream did not come true. My husband came home. He came home wounded due to injuries to his shoulder as his medevac helicopter was shot down during enemy fire, but he came home.

I was fortunate. Eleven days after his crash, I gave birth to our fifth child.

But other women aren’t so fortunate.

memorial day

When my husband and I were first married, we were looking for an apartment to rent, and I remember one widow lady whose home we were invited into had a memorial for her son in her living room. He was killed in WWII. Her only child. It’s been a lot of years since that day, but I still remember the woman and the memorial to her son. What can you say? I was so young, but knew that it was the most defining moment in her life. She lost her only child.

How many mothers, wives and lovers have received the news that their loved one would not be coming back home. How many tears shed?

And the children…
The public service announcement that shows a soldier coming into the classroom and the look on his daughter’s face when she realizes that yes, her daddy is home always brings tears to my eyes. I remember that feeling. I can identify. I missed him so.

Will there ever be a day in history when wars are no more? I doubt it.

When my youngest son was going through boot camp, they asked for volunteers to place flags on the military tombstones and my son volunteered. When it was over, he was thanked. He said, “No, thank you. It was my honor.” I don’t think I’ve ever been as proud of him as at that moment. He understood.

So here is a thank you to all our servicemen and women who have laid down their lives for our country. We honor you for your sacrifice. We remember.

2 Comments on “Memorial Day”

  1. My father served in the Army for 23 years – in Vietnam, Japan, Korea and Turkey. He never made it to Europe until I was in the Army and he and Mom came to visit me. The only thing he wanted for his funeral was military honors because he deserved them. When he died, the closest military base, Fort Meade, MD, said they didn’t send funeral details that far. My mother was devastated, but the small local college sent an ROTC officer to our house. He said he was on leave from his teaching duties and had been assigned ONLY to her until she was satisfied that the Army had done every thing it could for her and our family. ROTC kids drilled day and night until they were ready to give my Daddy the honor he so richly deserved. I remember the young woman who stood in front of the church on one side of his coffin at full attention throughout the service and even though I was in deep sorrow, I thought how no funeral detail could have been more formal and official than those young people. Daddy got his military honors at a small town cemetery in Northern, PA. Both my brother and I served, but neither in war time and when the priest calls veterans forward on Veterans Day, I go up but I always feel like an impostor as I stand with men who saw real combat, but you know, I am proud of my service even if it was in peace time and behind the lines. I was stationed in Germany, and thought, the other day, how Daddy never saw Europe until he visited me, and now I’m going to see Asia, and I’ll think of him.

    • I went to a Memorial Ceremony today…complete with a 21 gun salute to those that lost their lives in combat. My son, a military historian, gave the speech. It was a heartfelt moment seeing all the veterans from the five branches of service stand tall…and stooped, as their branch was mentioned. The eldest was 93, with several men also in their 90’s. Some men served in two different branches, and they stood twice.

      There was only a few women veterans.

      I’m so delighted that your father was given the honor he deserved Nancy. We should never forget the sacrifices that those who served have given to their country. I know you were proud of him…and so am I. I’m proud of you too for serving. Thank you!

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