In the United States, yesterday was Memorial Day. A day set aside to remember all those who died serving our country. It is a federal holiday. There are many activities to honor fallen heroes — parades, flags placed in cemeteries, assemblies. I recognized said 3-day weekend by unplugging from technology for three days and winding up with a picnic in North Shore park with great friends. So I didn’t wrap my brain around the real meaning of Memorial Day until today — Tuesday.
I know the difference between Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. But here’s the thing. All the vets I love (past and present) — my father, my son, John G, and ‘Mayor Bobby’ did not die in the service. But they ALL had loved ones and brothers they served with who did. I can’t pretend to know what that feels like. Occasionally they will share stories and pictures and memories. Good and bad; bittersweet. Each vet reacts differently. Each has their own private hell that most of us will never ‘see’. So on Memorial Day, I think about my father (long gone) who flew in WWII and the Korean conflict. I proudly show anyone and everyone the Flying Tiger patch from his bomber jacket. He knew so many pilots who were shot down, or even worse, ran out of gas and lost their planes and their lives in the ocean.
I think about the proud Marines — Bobby, John G and my son who are still with us today, but missing friends who perished in Vietnam and Iraq . And on this Memorial Day, I want to reflect on their service as well as remembering all the fallen heroes. I want to send prayers and hugs to the families and loved ones of those we lost. I am so thankful to all of them for their service and patriotism. That’s what I’ve been thinking about this Memorial Day.