Today is Memorial Day 2020. It is the unofficial start of summer, which is really about 4 weeks off. The weekend has been filled with parties, barbeques, beach trips and other fun activities.
This year, Memorial Day will be different. Due to Covid 19, the “fun” will be restricted for most Americans. With cities and states practicing shelter in place, people will be staying at home for the most part. Family get togethers are put on hold.
The purpose of Memorial Day has been forgotten in the decades since it began. Now just another day to have fun, Memorial Day was originally known as “Decoration Day,” a day designed to honor those men and women who died in service to their country. People would go to the cemetery and decorate the graves of those veterans laid to rest there. Then they would return home, or to the downtown area for a parade dedicated to those who had died.
Our family has been very fortunate. We have a history of serving this great country going back to the Civil War. In almost every war and conflict since, we have had family members serve. Though there have been many wounded, there have been none outright killed in war.
There is one exception I would cite related to death from warfare. That was my cousin Phillip.
Phillip served in Vietnam. He was the sole survivor of his platoon after an ambush in Nam. All others died from their wounds, but he managed to survive.
Survivor’s guilt led Phil to engage in self destructive activities upon returning to the US after the war. Sadly, in 1991, those activities caught up with him leading to his death. Rest in peace, Phil. Your nightmares are over now.
Even in peace time, I have known far too many people who lost their lives in the service of their country. These losses occurred while stationed at RAF Bentwaters during the Cold War.
Shortly after arrivingon base, we lost an A-10 pilot, Colonel Thompson, during an air show accident. His control stick jammed and he rode the plane into the ground. This was followed by Lt Colonel Olsen, Major Moxon, and Lt Gagne, all in A-10 crashes. One other, A1C Larry Brown, died in a house fire off base.
Each Memorial Day, I take time alone to remember Phil and those lost as I served. As well, I remember all who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep this great nation free. We have been very fortunate to have people like them willing to give everything in this great endeavor called America.
The future holds its cards close. We know not what is to come. But what we do know is that there will be Americans willing to stand up to the forces of tyranny here and abroad to keep others safe. To those, I offer my heartfelt thanks and prayers when the time comes for you to serve…….and for many, to die.
Have a Happy Memorial Day and remember….
LIFE IS GOOD! AMERICA IS GREAT!
(Note: Today at 11.51 am, there will be an AF 129th Air Rescue flyover of my local hospital in honor of those on the front lines of the C-19 battle. The flight path should be within 200 yards of my home, and maybe as far away as 1/4th mile. Looking forward to this occurring. Will try to get a video of it.)