I was born five years after the Second World War ended and the year the Korean War began. My father served four years on a Navy LST in the Pacific. Everybody on our suburban street had a tie to the military. Everybody.
So, when "Decoration Day" (For some reason my parents called the day by it's original name, but we knew the meaning.) rolled around it was a big deal on our street and in our town. There were flags on every house, kids would decorate our tri-cycles and bicycles with crape paper running between the spokes and ride them in a pre-parade event up and down the block.
Then we'd pack up and head into town where bands would play patriotic music and flags flew from every lamp post. We'd fall in line and join in the parade following the still young men who formed the local VFW.
After the parade we would make our way to the local cemetery. As a young boy this visit always struck me as a little odd. After all we really didn't know anybody buried in this cemetery because we were newcomers to this suburb of Detroit. But that wasn't the point. We were there simply to remember. Remember and observe the sacrifice of others, much of which was still very fresh...
That was five decades ago and that is the memory I woke up with this morning.
In between those fifty years many more young men and women have served and died while wearing the uniform of our armed forces. Families of those touched by that loss can point to several wars and conflicts as they join the long line of mourners who today remember.
We're now engaged in a war that will contribute even more names etched in bronze, stone and the minds of friends and families. Is it right? Is it wrong? I'm not entering that discussion. Today the politics are not important. Neither are hot dogs, auto races or boat rides.
What matters today is that we should, as a nation, stop...and remember. After all, it is Memorial Day.
Michael P. Libbie - Where you can always make contact with us by clicking here.