On behalf of a grateful nation

Memorial Day stirs our memories, causes us think about all that has been done in order that we may live our lives the way we do — not insignificant.

It gives us a chance to reflect on the sacrifices that so many have made on our behalf. I think of my parents, both of whom served. I sometimes wonder what they would think of our nation; nearly seventy-five years after their service.

Our country has its shortcomings. But, despite them, we remain the most respected and powerful nation on earth. I think my parents would have predicted that.

Men and women from around the world flock to our shores seeking the lives, the liberties and the pursuit of happiness that were secured for us by American men and women who willingly make sacrifices to protect those inalienable rights. I think they would have predicted that, too.

Memorial Day is a good thing. My father, who was a Sergeant in the US Air Force and a military photographer, loved Memorial Day — for the cookouts. Nobody nursed a bed of charcoal briquettes to their perfect state of readiness than he did.

My mother, who was a Lieutenant in the Women’s Army Corps, thusly out-ranking my father, took the opportunity (as if she needed a holiday) to drag a folding chair out onto the beach; then worship the sun, for about six or eight hours.

But for all the good family memories stirred by the occasion of the Memorial Day weekend, it’s impossible for me not to spend some time remembering who I am and what it took to get me here.

Memorial Day reminds us of those who continue to serve and carry on in the wonderful tradition of their predecessors — despite the changing nature of war.

It keeps the wolf of insignificance from our front doors. Thank God for them.

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News archive photograph

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