As I sit here looking at my Navy veteran current National Guard tough army dude. I wonder and think how Memorial day to my has changed.
In my early years ( elementry school) we did a Memorial day program where we did somethig with the flag, sang songs etc. Then got the Monday after off.
Jr high and high school not a lot going on there. It was almost as though it was forgotten. Other than having Monday off.
College end of finals week and packing to get out of town to go where ever we flew to.
Then I married to the military. And boy i was in for a huge suprise of how things worked. Like more often than not spouse would not be home for things like holidays, birthdays( you and childrens<actual birth> ), Not sure how many aniversaries I spent ''alone''.. We've been married 27yrs this Oct.
I have stood on the peir more than once to send him off for 6 or more months sometimes to ''war zones'' active and not sometimes just as far as Hawaii or Cuba depending on which coast the Navy chose to send us to.
The last deployment was to Dayton Ohio where he was part of the security detail ( national Guard now) So far we've been lucky he has not been snet to the current active war zone. Though in general the poplation really doesnt want him to to his current military job. If he is called out with other who do the same we may as well bend over and kiss our buttocks good bye. There is just something that is kinda final when it comes to Nuke, bio, chem warfare if you know what I mean.
At some point during the last decade or so I decided to begin a detailed family tree. Apparently I come from a long ine of military veterans. So far as far as I can tell the only 2 wars my side of the family has missed due to age to old (60+) or to young(under 10) was the War of 1812 and WWI, though if you include dh's family we have WWI covered. But any way in my search I discovered an ancester who served with George Washington at Bradocks Defeat the again with Washington when he crossed the Deleware... And currently My older brother just ( in april) retired from the Air Force after over 2500 combat hours and how knows how many just flght hours. At 50 yrs old he retired. So yeah long line of veterans...
If you stop and think what (not just my) Veterans chose to risk every time they chose to done the Uniform of their chosen branch. And what they gave/left to us..
I am a very lucky descendant all of ''my' veterans came home from their chosen war/conflict.. But how man famlies are not as lucky as I...
It is this day that we have chosen to honor those who did not come home. In Nov we chose a date to honor all those who served. But this day we honor those who did not..
Memorial Day is not "just" another day off, or a day we begin summer, have cook outs, for pools to open etc.
We see those who's job it is to march back and forth to protect the Tomb of th Unknowns in their snazzy uniforms marching to as close to perfect timing as a human can get.
We see the Ladies and Men of the VFW and Leigon handing out their Poppies. We may go to a parade and see floats, horses etc.
But what does Memorial Day really mean to you?
Like I said in the beginning I am sitting next to my Veteran.. I find my self lucky to have him, to spport him in his chosen ''profession''. Yes I missed him when he was not home. Yes I worried when his ship would go out to sea with him on it. Yess I was one of those wives who would ''blow up'' the ships arrivals and departures phone beginng about a week before he was even due to return ( becase ya never know they might decide to return early). I would also be one of those wives who would stand in the peir beginning about 2 hrs before they would be due to get hooked up by the tugs , go through customs etc.. I'd also be one of those wives who when it was announced that the ship is ''running on its own time'' and will be delayed for up to 36hrs would go home, wait for the phone to ring with the voice on the other end saying he is ready to come home.
When a ship is running on its own time it is pretty steady some run an hour late every time they are due to be peir side. Sme run on time, some run ... well he was on one ship that historically ran 20 hrs ''late'' but that was running on ''Vancover time'' ( Vancover being the name of the ship he was on at the time).
But he came home every time.
Bumknees, this is well worth coming out of Lurkdom for. Good Thread.
For me, it's a chance for me to take my (little) kids aside and talk to them about why "Big Drew" (DH's adopted little brother, a combat vet out for medical reasons) can't hear them sometimes and why he has a limp sometimes, and what he gave serving his country, and what it means to serve Our Country. And then we talk about other friends of Mommy and Daddy's who didn't come home alive, and what they were like and how they would have fit into our lives and their families. My goal is for them to understand at a young age, that for everyone to have what we have, that some have given their lives and that they should be very greatful for what liberties we have, because they were paid for in human lives.
If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.
It means a lot to me. My father is, thank God, still alive. He was away at Kimball Union Academy in New Hamshire when WWII broke out. He left school to enlist in the Army Air Corps and became a Fighter Pilot flying the P51 Mustang. He was stationed at Iwo Jima and by the grace of God, he and his brother who was in the infantry in the European theatre survived the war, although his brother was severely traumatized by his experience in the Battle of the Bulge. Both of them were very humble about their experiences in the war and only recently did my father speak at length about the terror of night patrols and staying with his wingman who had been hit until he crashed into the ocean. He told us how he was running out of fuel and didn't think he'd make it back to the island. The fog was terrible and all of their radios had gone out and he was all alone up there, certain that he would be next when he ran out of fuel when the fog lightened up and the island was in front of him. They were just kids and there are no words to describe that kind of courage.
We took my Dad to an air show with vintage planes last year and he amazed the pilot of the P51 Mustang there because he still remembers everything about the engines, different versions of the design and the affection he still has for that plane.
I have great respect and admiration for anyone who stands up to serve our country. I am trying to start a Horses 4 Heroes program at the Therapy Barn where I teach. We have the horses, wonderful volunteers and I am going to donate my teaching time but we are trying to locate grants or funds to get it going. It is our way to try and say thank you for what they have done for all of us.
it just isn't a fly over of some aircraft before a sporting event to signal the time to start
I remember looking up a the American flag flying over the fire support base I was assigned to… it was the only thing in a color other than drab green or tan for as far as an eye could see…. It had a neon sign effect of such a striking differences in the colors … it was a focal point that transcended the time…without the courage and commitment of others that had gone before we too could just as easily be like others in the world that have to live under tyranny
When ever I see a flag presentation … I my mind I can easily still see that flag that flew and remember those that I knew ...