When I was young we would do Memorial Day in my Family at the beach each year. Mom and Dad had a cottage and we would run up and down the beaches and get sunburned, swim and eat all day. As we grew older we all separated and went our separate ways, my older brother to bushiness and sports, me I went to the military, my next brother became things we won’t discuss, my sister grew up to be a wonderful lady and smart too, and the baby of the family is in his own right an artist of great works.
I choose the Military for the Discipline, the schooling and a career I needed at the time. I was the Black Sheep of our family and the most unwanted among all of them. I survived by doing what I thought was right as a kid, writing, reading and running. My life was escaping those who hated me or didn’t want me to run to those I was accepted by, so the Military worked for me. I can’t change the pain of my youth, the fact I had Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyper-Activity, and was different from all and misdiagnosed. But I overcame anyway to grow up to be a man, who loves life.
Memorial Day to me now means us Disabled Veterans who gave for their country and the pride we have in doing so. It’s a day in my book when the pride shines, but it does so quietly and personally. I stop to think of my Father who served in the Army for a term, my Step-father who did too, who I outdid in rank and years. I stop to think of those I knew and like who wore the Uniforms of their country because they wanted to stand up and protect our rights, and their loved ones at home. Sacrificing is what the Military is all about in more than one way. I see Veterans everyday at Hospitals, in Wheel Chairs, walking the streets broke and hurt and being ignored. You want to do something for a Veteran who protected you, defended your rights and cared when no one else did, than simply say thank you and give them a hot meal and a hand across the street if ya can. That is Memorial Day to me, caring for the men and women who went to war, served, were injured or died, and giving them all a moment of time to collect themselves and smile once more in their lives.
So, when you walk down the street and see a man or woman alone staring blankly at the world or hungry and dirty, or walking with a cane or in a wheelchair or wearing a tee shirt saying Veteran or Disabled Veteran, say thnak you and ask them if they need a hand, they didn’t ask you but gave their help to their nation and each of us!