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Happy Memorial Day

Monday, May 27, 2013

For all of my American friends, Happy Memorial Day! Many businesses are closed today giving their employees the day off of work to celebrate this day that marks the beginning of summer for most of us. It’s a day to enjoy a cookout with friends and family, go to a parade, put your boat on the lake, go camping with the family, or enjoy any other variety of activities. Certainly, it’s a day of fun.

But while we’re all out eating, laughing and having a great time, let’s take a few minutes to remember why we celebrate this day. It’s unfortunate that for too many Americans the real meaning of Memorial Day has gotten lost in the party and celebration.

Although Memorial Day has been widely celebrated since the 1800's, it was not until 1971 that it was declared a national holiday. Today we remember and honor our fallen heroes who paid the ultimate price to defend our great nation and our freedom, and we thank those who are continuing to protect us and our nation.

I remember when I was young we would go to the cemetery to place flowers on the graves of loved ones. Back then they called it “Decoration Day” and the cemetery came to life with all the brightly colored flowers on a sunny day. My father was in the Army and so we learned at a young age what the real celebration was all about.

I remember my wonderful Dad and the many stories he used to tell. He ran off and joined the Army when he was only a child at 17 and served for 25 years. Dad served in Germany at the end of World War II and also did two tours of duty in the Korean War. But I remember him telling me that serving in war was much easier than what he had to do during the Vietnam War. Far too many times, he had to put on his dress blues and drive to the home of a soldier’s family and give them the devastating news that their loved one had lost their life. The weight of this task was almost too much for my Dad’s strong shoulders and on these occasions you could see the crack in his armor, the sadness in his eyes and the dread of having to face another family. My mother, knowing my Dad better than anyone, would ride along with him, waiting quietly in the car while he delivered the heartbreaking news, so that she could be there to support him afterwards. She knew how much he loved the Army, but she also knew how much this hurt him to the very depth of his soul. It was a job that nobody envied.

So go out today and celebrate this Memorial Day. It’s absolutely what we should do. Just remember that we are celebrating and honoring the lives of all of our veterans who have served our country to keep us safe and free. And please, while you’re throwing those burgers and hot dogs on the grill, take a moment to say an extra prayer for the family who has an empty chair at their table.

Thank you so much to all who have paid the ultimate price, to all who have served and continue to serve our great nation, and to all of their families.

God Bless You All!

My Dad who passed away in 2006.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Cindy, was crying by the time I saw the picture of your Dad. Monday I called a dear friend to thank him for his service. He lives in Tennesse and I don't see him but a couple of times a year, but, he recieved the purple heart and is an avid collector of things pertaining to tanks used in the war. He was burned in service but has worked in spite of fingers that won't straighten and I admire him for his life after service as well .
    1850 days ago
    My Dad was a veteran of the Korean War too. Thanks the for the reminder of what today is really all about!! emoticon emoticon
    1851 days ago
  • _JODI404

    Thank you for writing such a poignant blog as an important reminder of the true meaning of this holiday. This really moved me, and I cannot imagine how difficult your Dad's job must have been. (I think the same of Hospice Caregivers -- they are so loving and caring, how they can do such difficult work surrounded by inevitable death.)

    I most definitely will remember that empty chair. God bless our Veterans, those serving now, and their families who also make incredible sacrifices.

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    1851 days ago
    What a great tribute to your Dad...and what a tough burden he had to bear for his country!

    thanks for writing it and thanks for the reminder!
    1851 days ago
    Your blog touched my heart. Thank you for sharing.
    We don't celebrate Memorial Day in Canada, but I think it is important to remember those who gave everything for our freedom. Thank you!
    1851 days ago
    I really loved this blog! My dad was much older than my mom when they married, and he passed away when I was only 8 years old. I know he served in WWI, but I never heard any of his stories. I wish I would have, although some veterans never want to talk about their war days. I don't know if would talk about them or not. My mother never said, and shortly after he passed away she remarried and she didn't want to hurt my stepfather's feelings so we never talked about him much after that. I so wish we had.
    My brother was in Desert Storm, and then in Afghanistan after 9/11. He retired after 20 years in the military. I so appreciate each and every one of our veterans, and our current military. They are so special to me. Thanks to your dad for his service, and for the strength he had to deal with giving such bad news to families. And to you, your mom, and the rest of your family for the support given to him during all of his service. Family support makes a huge difference too, and I don't think the families are appreciated enough either. I am so grateful to my sister-in-law and my 2 nieces for the amazing support they were to my brother during all his years. They were awesome! My sister-in-law served as a family liason when my brother was in Afghanistan after 9/11, and did so much to support his unit and their families. She'd get phone calls in the middle of the night from wives who needed support and a lot of other things to support my brother, and she raised my nieces to do the same. My youngest niece has signed up to go into the Marines next spring.
    1851 days ago
    You made a wonderful blog about Memorial Day! I love to see these blogs on this day because it is so important for all of us to remember these people!

    So sorry to hear of your dads passing, he was a great man, and I can see how hard that must have been to go to the families and tell them that their loved one has passed. That was so beautiful, how your mother went with to be of support after he told the family of the news, what a wonderful woman too, to support her husband in the lowest times in his life.
    What a wonderful family you have!

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    1851 days ago
    Dearest Cindy.....
    Why does it not surprise me that you come from such strong, patriotic and loving stock. Both your mother and father were (are?) special hunans ----- as is their daughter.

    Yes.....I'll say an extra prayer for that 'empty chair'.

    Best love.....Libby
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    1852 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/27/2013 10:29:47 AM
    Wonderful reminder and enjoyed reading about your dad. I am sorry for your loss and hope this Memorial Day is full of wonderful memories of him. My husband and I were in the Army and lossed people we knew. It's never easy but it does give more meaning to today!
    1852 days ago
  • NEPTUNE1939
    1852 days ago
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