Memorial Day is a time to remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country. While some of you may have known someone personally that fits that description, I’ve been fortunate enough not to. I’ve heard stories of such people, but to actually have gotten to know a person, and then have them go to war and never come back; I’ve been spared that kind of heartache.
My tie to Memorial Day has been through the people in my life that have known a fallen serviceman, and from the loss they continue to feel every time they remember. I think especially of my Dad and my wife Sue.
Sue was still quite young when her uncle Jimmy was killed in Vietnam. She was old enough to keep asking when Jimmy was going to come home, but not old enough to fully understand what had happened. Everyone else in her family remembers the details; the closed casket, all the businesses in Barnesville closing during the funeral, the young man being buried on what would have been his 21st birthday.
Dad was in the Army in the early 1960’s, a member of a new Ranger unit called a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP). These men became as close as brothers during their time together in Vietnam. Dad eventually got married and went home to farm; most of the others stayed in the Army and became career soldiers. Many didn’t come home. Dad, to this day, remembers many of their names, home towns, parent’s names and occupations, as well as the names of their spouses/ girl friends.
That is exactly what Memorial Day is about: Remembering. Dad and Sue, to this day, hold these people close to their heart. And even though it’s been 50 years, they will never, EVER forget!