As a Veteran, I can share with you that it was an honor to serve our country. Although my service was many years ago, it seems as if it was yesterday. I served during the Viet Nam era (but NOT in Viet Nam) and of course lost friends and family as a result of the conflict. I appreciate Tammy and what she has penned in her post today.
This is only my second Re-Blog after being connected with Active Rain for several years now. I seldom do it! It is an honor to Re-Blog "Memorial Day and my American duty of honoring it".
I just read a blog post that really shouldn't have made me angry, but somehow it always gets under my skin that Memorial Day has become a three day weekend about grilling and car sales. Did you know that in 1968 Congress passed the "Uniform Monday Holiday Act" moving 4 holidays to Monday to give people three day weekends. I truly believe it was the downfall of how Americans behave on Memorial Day.
Decoration Day! That's what it's supposed to be about.
I won't be visiting the grave of my uncle Johnny Wall (who was killed in Vietnam), BUT I will be visiting the local veterans cemetery. I don't know who I'll choose this year, but I will be placing flowers on a grave. I will honoring the service of someone who served our great nation and afforded me the freedom to grill a hamburger on Monday. I may or may not recognize the name of the person I choose. I come from a small community. But I will hold my moment of silence at the Veteran's Cemetery on May 30th.
I also come from a family with a history of service. My husband does as well. My mother's father served in the Army during WWII. My father served and his service was involuntarily extended during the Vietnam conflict although he was fortunate enough not to actually serve in a war zone. He served in the Navy. My uncle Johnny, no so lucky was shot and killed by a sniper in Vietnam. His body was escorted back to the United States by my Uncle Nelson who was doing his 3rd tour in the region.
My Donald was a "Navy Brat" moving form port city to port city during his entire childhood and teenage years. Then in his early 20's he joined the army and served during and in Desert Storm in the gulf region. My brother-in-law Kevin also served his country. My brother-in-law Andrew has spent his adult life building ships for the Navy and Air Force (although a civilian, I see this as service to his country).
So this weekend when you're at a party, having a beer, grilling steak or burgers, visiting with family and friends and enjoying a holiday weekend here in the good old US of A please take a moment to remember. Nearly every small town in America has lost a young man or woman in battle and wouldn't it be nice if you'd call them, send them flowers to their home.... let them know in some way that you realize that this weekend isn't about the "Memorial Day Sales" down at the mall or the backyard gatherings. Let them know that you appreciate the freedoms afforded to citizens of our great nation by those who fought and although lost their own lives won the battles that make our nation so great and free.
Go on Google and search "fallen soldiers in anytown, your state" and find a name and do something nice for their family. Yes, it might take a little research to find the address of the parents, the sons and daughters, the spouse left alone to carry on without their loved one. But you are getting a day off... make it count, do something of value with it. Close your eyes for just one moment and imagine it was your loved one who didn't make it home... What would it mean to you to receive a call, flowers, a note, a visit from a stranger who cared enough to let you know how much that life meant. It will only take a few minutes out of your weekend and it will mean the world to those lives you touch. In my community Staff Sgt. Alex French IV paid the ultimate sacrifice in 2009. I will honor him this Memorial Day and thank his family. Our community named a street after him this past year.
But I can only imagine the loss his family feels every single day. I want them to know that I, a citizen, a patriot, an American am thankful for his service and I remember him. I never met him, but I will never forget him.
I also write to my congressmen annually and ask them to move Memorial Day back to May 30th. I believe if it were honored on it's rightful day it would be less about the three day weekend it has become. Veterans Day, thankfully was later restored to November 11th.
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