War & memory

Today, Memorial Day 2010, I went to a service by myself for the first time.  For many years Mom & Dad went to the local Grove Hill Cemetery, where the the local VFW always sponsors a service, and I have gone a few times with them.  For whatever reason neither went today, so I went alone.  The weather was perfect, it didn’t rain, and I saw old friends, both mine and some of my parents.  As the color guard came marching in, they looked so young and untested (I think they were college kids).  The speaker was a Col. Miller with the KY Army Nat. Guard who has served all over the world.  Later, as a guest at the VFW luncheon, I met Coleman Smith, a young Marine in logistics who will soon be stationed with the 3rd Marines either at Quantico or possibly at Okinawa, Japan.  Frankly, he was impressive, with the kind of steady gaze and self-assurance that I’ve come to recognize in Marines.

As I left soon afterwords, I wondered how many of the people all around us even thought about why we celebrate Memorial Day.  We’re fighting two wars abroad that could go on for decades, and we have many economic and moral/spiritual problems at home.  Millions of men (mostly Muslim) who are sworn to kill us have almost got nuclear weapons.  My father risked his life in WW2 to give me my freedom, and my daughter will soon be a Marine officer (in the Navy, like Dad) assisting all kinds of efforts to take the fight to the enemy.  I guess it was time for me to take a few hours on this day to encourage those around me, by my presence and appreciation, for the gift which neither our money nor merit can buy — our freedom.

The Lord bless them and keep the safe.

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