Memorial Day is a chance to remember our veterans. Observance began after the Civil War but did not become an official holiday until 1971.
The American Cemetery at Normandy is incredibly moving and we will be returning there in September. The opening and closing scenes of the movie Saving Private Ryan are filmed at this cemetery. Captain John Miller’s dying words to Ryan earlier in the movie were “Earn This.” In the final scene an older Ryan stands at Miller’s grave and implores his wife, “Tell me I’ve lived a good life. Tell me I’m a good man.”
Below is a blog we shared a few years ago.
As I write this, I am preparing to visit my youngest son who just moved to the Washington DC area. We will celebrate the 4th with some baseball, fireworks, and maybe even a slice of apple pie (and yes, he drives a Chevrolet for those of you that remember that old ad campaign). I just heard on the early morning news about the latest casualty count in Afghanistan, and Memorial Day is already a faint memory. I will be sure to ask my son if he is registered to vote.
I have been pretty active in my community; even served a term as Sioux City’s Mayor ProTem (Vice Mayor). I am still involved in some campaigns and I am always amazed to run into so many people who do not take the time to vote. Our country is filled with people with life altering injuries from 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is filled with families without parents and spouses. I cannot imagine the number of permanently disabled veterans after World War II. Clichés often sound trite, but one that never does is “Freedom isn’t Free”.
Dad served as an airplane mechanic in Texas during the Korean War. To be honest, he was not fond of that time, but he was proud of it. I remember the stories and the photographs. In the corner of my basement is one of his few remaining possessions, his footlocker with his uniforms. I keep the lid open, and it constantly reminds me of his service far from home where he wanted to be. I am proud of Dad.
As campaign season heats up again this fall, I know I will be annoyed by all the political calls. I do not suppose we have been more polarized anytime since the Civil War. I am sure I am going to be tired of all the ads saying what is wrong with this Country. I would encourage all of us to focus on what’s right with this Country and be thankful we can speak openly without a government-controlled message and media.
I am privileged to travel a lot with Extra Touch Tours and see lots of interesting places in the US, and all around the world. In the end, I can tell you there is no place like home, and we still live in the greatest nation on earth thanks to our veterans. If you are a veteran, thank you! Thank You! Thank You!
Celebrate our freedom on the 4th, but never miss a chance to celebrate with your vote. The price was very, very high!