Unfortunately, I am late on this particular post. It isn’t so much a case of procrastination as I had written the first version prior to Monday. During the course of several activities over the weekend (including birding with Ron), I mulled on the approach I had taken and the words written regarding the topic. Thoughts went back and forth until the time came to publish and I decided to scrap it. I still hold firmly the opinions originally expressed, but decided Memorial Day was a time to honor those that have fought for our freedoms and principles at home and abroad rather than sully it with accounts of worthless politicians and seditious mainstream media.
Instead, I wanted to focus on the brave men and women who volunteered or were called to duty like my Father to defend our nation’s founding principles. To all who have or are serving we owe a level of gratitude that can never be repaid. I would contend that all have been permanently altered to some degree by their experiences. My father would not discuss what he went through during his time in the Army deployed during the Korean War. Piecing together tidbits gathered over my lifetime – a photograph here, a rare comment there or an emotion that momentarily forced its way through his stoic facade weave a tale no one would wish upon their child.
Through training, leadership, combat decisions and blessing, my father returned from war, cared for his family and did everything he could to make sure we knew right from wrong, honor from deception and what it meant to live with a foundation of principles and discipline.
I never forgot my Father’s service to our country. We were fortunate to have him with us as a constant reminder of those willing to put their personal lives on pause and serve a higher cause. Unfortunately, there are those that return with even higher levels of sacrifice both mentally and physically that have far lasting effects. Yet still are those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice, fallen defending that which our country holds to be true, principles worth fighting for and integrity worth upholding.
One of the places Linda and I visited on our January exploration was Vicksburg, Mississippi. A somber place that had a deep impact on me. I remember standing overlooking one of the major battlefields and trying to imagine what it must have been like. Having to fight or defend every inch of land – advancing from an inferior position in the valley or scrambling to defend a breech in defenses. I tried to set aside the catalyst and focused on the travesty of citizen fighting citizen or as in the sign above “men who had once been friends faced off as enemies”. Then my heart contemplated on those that never left these fields I was looking at.
It is that feeling that came back to me when I was rethinking my original post. There would be plenty of time to point out the current hypocrisy that is inundating us from every angle – instead, Memorial Day is about honoring those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Those that were called to duty for a higher cause that never came back to their families and loved ones. To those we owe deepest respect, honor and a commitment to never forget what they gave for us and our way of life. No, it’s not just another “long weekend” – a statement I had read that became the cornerstone of my first version.