This was sent to me by someone with whom I have corresponded many times over the years. We have never met, and she prefers to remain anonymous. But please…read every word of her note.
Although I know the day is meant to honor those who died in service to their country, I like to think all of those who served.
This was my Memorial Day….
Monday was Memorial Day. As is my tradition, I went to visit my parents’ graves. My father’s was adorned with a small American flag, placed there by the local Boy Scouts. Although he never saw combat, he was very proud of his service, and I am the keeper of the flag that draped his casket. After I talk to my Dad, I always walk among the tombstones, pausing at those with flags to read the inscriptions.
A few that are memorable—a PFC who listed his Purple Heart, several who had their unit numbers inscribed on their headstones even though they went on to live decades after their military time was over, a few were KIA. Each flag was held in place by a metal marker which identified the conflict in which they served; going back to the Civil War, including each war into which the U.S. was drawn. The last being collectively designated, “Persian Gulf”. Due to the aging population, most were from World War II, followed in number by Korea, with increasingly more from the Vietnam Era.
One that I noticed was a marker where only the wife ‘s final date was displayed, suggesting that she too had served, but her husband was still alive. Another that always makes me smile is a husband and wife, his is Navy, hers a Cpl in the Marines…both with WWII markers.
My Dad was not a vocal man. He taught by example. He always stood up when a lady entered the room (until he could no longer stand), and saluted Old Glory whenever she passed by. He instilled a sense of fairness, honesty, service, generosity and patriotism in me. And so, after my silent remembrance, I went home to honor those who had sacrificed everything for our country in the way I know best… by packing CARE packages for those in Harm’s Way.
Since then, I learned of the deaths of a Sailor and a Marine assigned to the (Battalion) that I am supporting. I can only hope that they knew how much they mean to us.
That is the end of her note. To her I can only add that in response to the hope that they knew how much they mean to us, especially when it comes to you and all you have done for the troops over the years…
Yes. They knew.