Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day Memories

It seems like this year has gone by so quickly!  I cannot beleive that school will be out for summer in just 2 weeks!  Memorial Day weekend means alot of different things to people.  For some, it brings memories of family get-togethers, BBQ's and camping trips.  For others, time off of work to do those home improvement or lawn and garden projects (just look at all the sale flyers).  For others, it is a time to remember those who have passed on, and those who have fought and died for our country. 

For me, it is all of those things.  As a child, Memorial Day was about going out in the yard with mom and cutting flowers.  She had a Peony bush, roses, and several others that we would cut and place into large bouquets in old mayonaise jars.  We would go as a family out to the cemetary where relatives on both sides had been buried.  As we walked among the tombstones placing our offerings of flowers, I remember glancing back at the rows and rows of white headstones in the military section of the cemetary.  I always wondered why that section was different and who would be buried there. 

My father fought in WWII.  At the age of 15 1/2 he somehow was able to enter the Merchant Marines and spent time on an boat transporting much needed ammunition and supplies to the fighting men.  At the age of 17 he was in the US Army as an infantryman.  He was part of a unit called the BushMasters, which, from what I understand, was a small group of men who went forward and "scouted out" ahead of the troops coming through.  They were often told to "clear the area" of enemies. 

My father was in Japan and the jungles of the Phillipines during that war.  Living on "K rations" and trading his cigarettes for chocolate! 

From the little I know of his time there it sounds like pure hell. I know that he suffered the residual effects of his time there as so many men do. If he was startled, he was ready to fight immediately. He had to be awakened from a nap by shaking the toe of his shoe gently to avoid getting hit. He hated snakes, he was tough, he was quiet, he never complained. I cannot imagine what it was like for a 17 year old boy to find himself in those conditions.

My cousin fought in Vietnam.  This was a very similar experience for him, but yet with the era, and the lack of understanding about the causes of the war, and the protests, he came back to a very different world when it was over.  Instead of being welcomed home as a hero, and honored for fighting for his country, he was scorned by many who did not feel it was the right thing to do. 

I don't have alot of political savvy, but I do know enough to say thank you to the men and women who fight to secure our freedoms and our way of life here in America.  We have so many blessings that we take for granted, and we have no idea what these people have gone through to protect our rights.  Even if we do not agree with the war they served or are currently serving in, let us thank them for doing it for the rest of us, with the best of intentions to protect the way of life we have come to enjoy. 


Almost Precious said...

A very lovely tribute for Memorial Day, wonderful post.

Tracie said...

Thank you


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