It is that time of year when Americans commemorate those who fell in the service of their country. That, at least, is the reason for the holiday. In practice, for any number of reasons few actually engage the day as intended. The holiday is more associated with backyard barbecues than with memorializing those who died in uniform.
I’m not casting any aspersions. It’s just an observation, not a condemnation. And I’m not about to chuck the first stone. I’ve not visited grave sites or watched parades. You’ll find me at the grill with a beer in my hand.
I do not come from a military family. My grandfather was a medic in WWII. On D-Day he was laid up with dysentery When he tried to join his platoon, his captain told him “Go back to bed, Lizzi.” So he did not storm the beaches of Normandy. It’s hardly a romantic concept, but my existence could well be attributed to dysentery How’s that for an ennobling thought?
My dad was a conscientious objector and had a student deferral. So he wasn’t drafted. An uncle, by marriage, served during the Vietnam era, but he was stationed in Korea. A medic. Another uncle, also by marriage and also a medic, did serve in Vietnam. He shared some interesting stories.
My sister served. Met my brother in law that way. I joined up as well, though my military career was hardly illustrious. My “There I was” stories are hardly the heroic stuff of legends.
The point is, I have only a passing acquaintance with the ultimate sacrifice. My appreciation for those who lost their lives in war is mostly abstract. The deaths are at a ‘friend of a friend’ remove. I don’t have a direct family connection that allows me to feel the sacrifice viscerally.
But I’ll try.
And I’ll try to keep in mind those still serving. With that in mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGClrsAN2aY