Memorial Day, a solemn occasion for so many of us around the country. For me however, its not just a day set aside by our country to recognize the thousands upon thousands of fallen troops that gave up the ultimate cost. Although it is a very worthy act that we honor our fallen troops, it is more personal than that to me.
I understand exactly how lucky and blessed I am because of their sacrifice. I have two brothers who served our country honorably during the Vietnam Era. My family was blessed because they both returned home unharmed. More recently, one of my nephews served time during the Iraq War. After serving three tours of duty there, again our family was blessed by him being discharged from the military honorably and unharmed. Currently I have a dear godson who is being transferred to a military base in Germany after serving two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.
But I pause as we all give respect in remembering the thousands of families who were not so lucky. A few of them are people I knew personally. Like Franklin Payne, who was a dear friend and a member of my high school class. His injuries during the Vietnam War left him paralyzed from the neck down. Although he was sent home to his family with much medical support when he was strong enough; my friend was severely frail and he died not too long after his arrival home. And then there was another friend, Jonathan Roaker. He was a boy I liked when I was in the fifth grade. Poor Jonathan paid the ultimate cost during the Vietnam War. His family was not as lucky as Franklin’s. At least Franklin’s family was able to see him again and spend precious moments with him before he died. But Jonathan was killed during battle and his family never got to see him alive again.
This brings me to the actual reason for this blog today. Memorial Day is not just a day set aside to remember our fallen soldiers…although that’s a first rate reason, its more than that. Remembering the fAMILIES of all those fallen soldiers are equally as important. They should not be forgotten, instead we should embrace and honor them for their family member’s sacrifice.
TAPS, (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) provides emotional support and resources for the grieving families of our military men and women. Their website title=”TAPS”>http://www.taps.org/about/default.aspx?id=6185 explains what they do in detail for our grieving military families and encourages donation of time and resources. On this Memorial Day Holiday perhaps you would be inclined to visit their website and offer your generous donation.
Have a safe and healthy Memorial Day.
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