Every Memorial day I remember and thank all those who died while fighting for our freedoms. They paid the ultimate price for the lives we live today and we should never forget that! While Memorial Day is for remembering those who died while in service, it has also taken on a whole new meaning for me. Many of the men in my life served in the various divisions of the armed forces in various wars. While some came back to my life others didn’t. Those who did weren’t the same and in some cases were not the men I learned about as a child.
For instance my father and uncle served in WW2, which was before I was born, and were forever changed. My father was only a part of my life for seven years, but was not the man in other’s stories. My father loved me and I knew that, but he had a cool tendency when he addressed me. I think, now being older and seeing the same cases play out with people today, that the war changed my father. He was no longer the man in the stories I heard from others. He was not a bad father or anything of that sort, he just wasn’t the man I learned about. The seven years worth of memories I made with my father are not ones I would trade for the world! The memories I learned about after his death and as I got older always made him stay bright in my heart. Even though he did not die in service I still remember him and dedicate Memorial Day to him because he did pay a price while fighting for our freedoms. He lost a part of himself that I never got to experience or know.
Many times today men and women come back from war or their time in the service and are forever changed. They do not talk about what they went through or saw. They know death in a whole other way than most. Many, I know, had close friends die in front of their eyes and to this day wonder why it wasn’t them. Some live with mental illnesses that they will never be able to get rid of. Some don’t have the sparkle in their eye anymore. This is their price, its not the ultimate price, but they do live with it the rest of their lives. The people they were before and are now are remembered while they are alive and after they die. I remember them on Memorial Day.
This year I also remember my neighbor, friend, and client Jeff who died in November 2014. His memory is with me constantly. He served in the armed forces and wore his service proudly. He was one of the strongest, most disciplined, hard working, and loved people I knew. I know his military service changed him, but I know it made him the great man, father, and friend I knew. He didn’t lose his life in service, but he was the epitome of what time served does. He loved his country! I dedicate this Memorial Day to him too!
While Veteran’s Day is for those who served and are still alive, what happens when they die or what happens for their loved one’s when they come back a different person? Their loved ones remember who they were before their service, either through memory or experience, and who they were after their service.
I thank and remember those who lost their lives and those who lost a part of themselves while serving and fighting for our freedoms!
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.