Today is Memorial Day, a day to look at ourselves and our Country’s Servicemen and Women and Remember the lives of those who gave the last measure of service and life to ensure our Country lives on for their children. All of us who are Veterans look at our Nation’s symbol that still flies over buildings and in our Churches and cemeteries across this great nation and the soil given to us by those distant nations that holds our heroic dead fought so valiantly to seek free. Our National Flag which we consider to be a living, breathing symbol; we watch our flag in all kinds of weather inhaling and exhaling with every breath of our great land, always standing in the light of righteousness during the light of day by the sun and at night by the electric lights of the cities.
I remembered today many times with my father; with parades, picnics and barbecues. My father was a mechanic with Patton’s Army as they marched through Europe. As he served with the Air Force in later years we observed Memorial Day when we were in Japan and later in duty stations across the mid-west. Later during my first tour of duty I observed this Day fighting in the hills of Vietnam. After I was married I served the military as a musician and would have to play concerts and join community parades that honor America’s Service men and women. Memorial Day was a special day of honor and reflections, when I was assigned to the 3rd Armored Division Band in Germany and in 1980, our band joined those other free nation’s bands and marching units for West Berlin’s Military Tribute down main street.
I have visited America’s fallen hero’s in the field of Holland, Denmark and France, I have stood at the foot of George Patton’s grave at Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial and watched a field mouse scurry to safety in the bushes nearby.
But for all the Memorial Day’s I have seen, this year’s seem to pull at my heart the strongest. This year I lost my mother and am witnessing a very close father figure struggle with the last days of his life. I just wanted to say to all the service men and women I have known, served with and loved a simple “thank you” filled with tears and love.