Remembering the cost

mem_pattonHere we are approaching Memorial Day, and the memories are flooding back.  Memorial day has always been a day of remembering, of counting the cost, and remembering the brave men and women who defended this nation, and whose blood has paid for our freedom.  As a child i remember we spent the day at the cemetery.  The car packed with a flat of flowers, gardening tools, watering can, and a few lawn chairs.  The day started gathered around the large flag pole, military salute, prayer of rememberance, and that haunting 21 gun salute to the memory of the departed.  Graves were marked with small American Flags, placed by the vets a day or two before.  The memory was real.  For some there were tears streaming down the cheeks, running hot with fresh memory of loss, or sudden resurgance of grief for the loss of a brother, father, uncle.  For others the festivities were a reminder of how costly freedom is.  My father always seemed to stand a bit straighter, and behind that generally jovial smiling face there were memories of profound grief, war stories, loss of friends to enemy fire.  He never said anything about being one of the few in his unit to come home, but i now often wonder if he lived with a survivors guilt.

War, or any military action changes people.  It is quite an honor to know that there are people among us willing to stand up for freedom, and lay their life down if need be to maintain the cost.  My father’s generation believed that WWII was the epic turning point of civilization, and that the darkness and evil of NAZI germany could not overtake the world.  On the battlefields of Europe, North Africa, Asia and the South Pacific countless people lived that creed, and held back the darkness with their very lives.

In our day brave men and women have fought, bled and died for wars on foreign soil – Vietnam, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq.  And as we read this many are in harms way world wide.

Thank you to each and every person who has served our country , whether in war, or peace.  Thank you for your willingness, your time, your lives, and your shared vision that in order for freedom to continue it must be defended.