A day this nation has set aside to remember the fallen heroes throughout our nation’s history who gave “the last full measure of devotion” to their nation. Mere words cannot begin to express the enormity of their sacrifice or the anguish of loved ones they left behind. I’ve never been exactly sure why it’s always an emotional time for me. Perhaps, I’m just grateful that those who have served, like my father, are being honored for the sacrifices they made.
Each time our service members are honored my mind seems to flash back to a time when we were fearful of admitting to strangers that dad was a military man. The year was 1972, and the Vietnam War was winding down. Perhaps it was because this country had a draft where boys, just eighteen, were being sent off to fight halfway around the world. I’m not sure, I was probably too young to know exactly why, but I do remember the war was very unpopular. I remember seeing demonstrations against the war on television. Actors, actresses, musicians, and such were speaking out against all the country was doing over there.
I also remember when Memorial Day was a day for parades and celebrations. When communities came together to honor the fallen and those who served this country, and I pray these words once spoken by John F. Kennedy still ring true today :
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” -John F. Kennedy
Despite the struggles we continue to have in this country, I still believe this is the greatest country in the world! I will forever place my right hand over my heart and salute our flag not only because of my dad,
but also for my father-in-law, who was a corpsman and a boxer in the Korean War,
and my grandfather who lied about his age when he signed up to go off to battle in World War I, and who faithfully raised his American flag and saluted it each morning until the day he died, and for all the men, women and families who have sacrificed so much to keep this country free. I am forever grateful and will continue to pray that God will bless our nation, and especially all those who serve it.