Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day
Today we remember the people who died serving our country. We also remember those who served our country and died. We also remember loved ones who have died, whether or not they served in the military.
My father was an Army veteran, who served in World War II. When he was merely eighteen, a troop ship transported him across the Atlantic Ocean to England. He later crossed the English Channel to France. One of his cousins died on a beach in Normandy on D-Day, as described in The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan. Those were brave young men who arrived in France to push back the Nazis. Dad was in France and Belgium until the surrender of Germany and then was in California, preparing to be sent to the Pacific, when Japan surrendered. He liked to say that they heard he was coming and gave up.
My father did not die in the war or I would not be here to tell you about him. When he died in 2003, the military gave him a 21 gun salute, which choked me up. My mother has the flag that was given to her as part of the ceremony.
On Friday, I attended the funeral of my Russian friend, Slava. At his funeral, one of the speakers told of how Slava was five years old when he was injured by bombing of Russia in 1942, before America was in the war. Slava came to the United States with his wife and child after he was a respected physicist in Russia. He came here for freedom.
Both men loved America. I miss them both. I remember them both as honorable men such as countless others whom we honor on this day.
“It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.” A.Lincoln