Memorial Day is a day designated to honor veterans of our armed forces who died while serving our nation. Veterans Day, celebrated in November, is the day designated to honor those who have served in our armed forces. This Memorial Day, however, I am remembering, not only those who died serving our nation, but all those who have served and those currently serving.
June 6, 1944 was D-Day, the day of the great Normandy Invasion that marked the beginning of the end of World War II. June 6, 1918 was my father’s birthday. He served in support of the Normandy Invasion in England and followed the troops over to support them as an engineer a few days later. My Uncle Lamar was a quiet hero who served as a Navy Seal. My Uncle Johnny served as well in the Army. My Uncle Ray was a quiet hero (Silver Star) who never spoke about his time in the service. My Uncle Eddie was an ace Navy pilot who served in the Pacific. My younger Uncle Gayle served during the Korean Conflict. Only Ray and Gayle are still living.
Numbers often align in strange ways. I graduated from Mainland Senior High School in the Class of 1966. Interestingly, most of my classmates have already or will turn 66 this year. And on June 6, 2014, we are having a collective birthday party for all members of our class–those of us who are living and we’ll also remember those who are no longer living, a few of whom died in another war in Southeast Asia. Many of us also served during that war.
Anyhow, this Memorial Day, I was able to sit on my deck overlooking the Mississippi River because of those who served and died serving, those who served and have subsequently died, those of us who served and are still alive, those who are now serving, and those who will serve in the future. I’m grateful. May we all thank them all.