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Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day

This upcoming Monday marks another holiday in the U.S., Memorial Day. To some it is a day that we just get off work and go shopping, but to others it means quite a bit more. It is a wonderful day to reflect in what so many men and women did selflessly in making the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation.

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day honors those men and women that died while serving their country. At first this holiday was to honor those Union soldiers that died during the Civil War, but was later Memorial Day was expanded after World War I to honor all women and men who died while in the Armed Forces.

I myself never served in the Armed Forces. I once had a nomination to attend West Point but love interest kept me at home (silly me). Before that I thought I would love to drive tanks, but found out that MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was reserved only for men. I do however have a love and appreciation of the Armed Forces.

My Great Grandfather was just 21 when was fighting in the Philippines in World War I. In those days he was part of the cavalry. Later in life he served 22 years at West Point Military Academy and was one of the men that helped rebuild West Point after the great fire. He knew Marty Maher and my Grandfather and Great Aunts/Uncles played with his nephew. He served his country proudly even though he was originally a Norwegian that merely jumped ship as a stow away to come to America so he could eat. Today he and my Nana are buried in West Point Cemetery.

My Grandfather and Great Uncle both served in World War II. My Grandfather fought in North Africa and nearly got killed as the driver was shot in the head five minutes after he switched seats with him. My Great Uncle was on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. He will admit he was there, but there is a keen sadness in his eye remembering that time period. Both were valiant and brave men who later retired out of the military.

My Uncle fought in Vietnam and served as a tank crew member. My Dad was a Marine, but was injured in D.C. which probably saved his life despite the year of knee/leg pain. His best friend was at the Battle of Ong Thanh and lived to tell about it. All these men loved their country and thankfully lived to tell about it.

In present day it is the conflicts in the Middle East where soldiers fight everyday against terrorist and selflessly for other people's freedom. My best friends both were in Iraq and Afganistan. One was in the Anti-Terrorist Unit in Italy , who shot a 350 Bravo. I remember occasionally getting videos from him of the Taliban trying to shoot rocket launchers at them and how close they would come. Thankfully both made it home but I prayed everyday for them. Now I know of one person currently serving in Iraq. It is my friends' brother and I too pray for him and all the soldiers to make it home safely.

Memorial Day should be a day of reflection and prayer at some point during that day. Take a moment and pray for our fallen soldiers and for their families. Pray for the troops serving overseas that can't see their family everyday. Think of the countless sacrifices these women and men did for our country to preserve our freedom and independence.

A Tribute To Veterans
Jerry Calow (copyright 2003 )

In Vietnam, Korea and World Wars Past
Our Men Fought Bravely so Freedom Would Last
Conditions Where Not Always Best They Could Be
Fighting a Foe You Could Not Always See:

From Mountain Highs to Valley Lows
From Jungle Drops to Desert Patrols

Our Sinewy Sons Were Sent Over Seas
Far From Their Families And Far From Their Dreams
They Never Wrote Letters Of Hardships Despair
Only Of Love, Yearning That One Day Soon:

They Would Come Home, They Would Resume
And Carry On With The Rest of Their Lives

The P.O.W.¹S Stood Steadfast
Against the Indignities And Cruelties Of War
They Could Not Have Lasted as Long as They Did
If They Had Relinquished Their Hope That Some Day:

They Would Come Home, They Would Resume
And Carry On the Rest Of Their Lives

Medics, Nurses, and Chaplains Alike
Did What They Needed To Bring Back Life
They Served Our Forces From Day Into Night
Not Questioning If They Would Survive:

They Mended Bones And Bodies Too,
They Soothed the Spirits of Dying Souls

And for Those M.I.A¹S, Who Were Left Behind
We Echo This Message Across the Seas
We Will search For as Long As It Takes
You¹re Not Forgotten And Will Always Be:

In Our Hearts, In Our Prayers,
In Our Minds For All Time

A Moment of Silence, a Moment of Summons
Is Their Deliverance of Body And Soul
To a Sacred Place That We All Know
Deep In the Shrines of Our Soul:

In Our Hearts, In Our Prayers
In Our Minds For All Time

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