Sunday, May 24, 2009
From The Vault:
May 29, 2005
My father was not a man blessed with great financial wealth. Before he passed away he made two requests: First that he should be buried in a blue military coffin and second that "Bubby" (what he lovingly called his little granddaughter) be given the flag that draped his coffin. My daughter will someday realize that of all the riches she may incur in her lifetime she will have one possession that is priceless, timeless and earned solely on the basis of selflessness of spirit.
Memorial Day has come to represent the beginning of Summer. Most amusement parks open on Memorial Day and close on Labor Day. Most people spend Memorial Day weekend planting gardens, taking a vacation or taking it easy. Last year I was astounded to find more of a crowd at Home Depot than at the local cemetery. Somehow as a nation we have come to forget those who have given everything to keep us free. I do not speak solely of our men and women in uniform but also of mothers, fathers, wives, husbands and children who have given to us the most precious thing imaginable: the future possibilities of those whom they loved so dear.
Some may argue that we as a country have no business being at war. Others argue that war is the only way to control the terrorism that shook us all on 9/11. Some say that our military should pull out of the middle-east immediately. Others believe that without a show of force our native soil will never be safe. There are some that voice their anti-military beliefs strongly. But I wonder how many of these people realize that it is from the courage of our military that their freedoms of speech are borne? It is a basic truth that we, as United States citizens, have a right to our opinions and a right to voice those opinions. So the next time you find yourself in one of these heated debates, as the saying goes "Thank a vet".
Today, no matter what your personal beliefs may be; please take just a moment to remember or bear witness to a man or woman you may know (or may have known) that wears the uniform of this great country of ours. Think of the sacrifices they and their families make on a daily basis and the fact that they may one day make the ultimate sacrifice. They do this for their country, they do this for their families; but they also do this for you and for me and for the freedom we hold so dear.
My father did not leave a million dollars to his precious granddaughter when he died. He did not leave her property or a car or a trust fund. What my father left to her was priceless. He gave to her a symbol of love, of freedom, of something he would have gladly given his life for. He gave her the American flag.