Monday, May 30, 2011

It's Memorial Day...

It's Memorial Day 2011... Another holiday whose meaning has been diminished by so many to mean a parade - candy - and a cookout with friends.  To Some.  But to some it means much more.  Oh So Much MORE.  My dad is one such person.  To him it is a day of rememberance and fighting yet another war, an unseen war that no one would ever know is raging on and on and on...and that is the war within.  He was but a young man when he signed up to serve in the U.S. Navy those many years ago.  He entered the U.S. Navy with great courage never dreaming of the reality of what was to come.  He as a boy dreamed of being a hero... a hero like his dad and all the other men and women who faithfully served during World War II who were celebrated when they returned to their homeland to cheers and praise.  But this was not to be his reality.  He found the harsh realities of war in Vietnam not as glamorous as he'd dreamed.  There was nothing that could have prepared him for the many horrors he would witness during his two - yes two - tours in Vietnam.  He left his hometown a young man of innocence, courage, eagerly anticipating his future, looking forward to being celebrated as a hero when all was said or done-whether alive or dead.  But he and so many others were robbed not only of their innocence, but their dignity as upon their arrival home they were spat upon, cursed, brutalized by the very people they were defending.  He left a proud American.  He returned ashamed... broken.  The war he continues to fight over 40 years later will continue to haunt him until the day he dies... and if you were to ask him if he'd do it all over again, he would probably tell you 'in a heartbeat'.  You see, he was part of one of those great generations of the past who had a great sense of allegiance to these United States of America, a true sense of duty, responsibility to the freedoms it offers.  He would still give up his innocence, put his life in danger- die if necessary- and watch his brothers die beside him all for the defense of his country. 

He is a hero.  A True Hero.

Today, the servicemen and women are engaged across the sea in a war all their own, with its own horrors to behold, and yet they fight on for the freedom of people here in America and all over the world.  They will return home to celebration and praises and honor - all of which they've earned - some of them will return to their families alive, yet broken, and some will return to their families in a box having given their very lives...for me...and you.

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."

~John 15:13

Thank a veteran today. 

Thank the families of veterans who have also paid a great price. 

Thank the servicemen and women who are on active duty.

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