At the end of May – May 26 to be exact – a very important holiday for this country will take place: Memorial Day.
It pains me to say that most folks will only see this day as a great excuse to enjoy a three-day weekend. No doubt, it will be a popular weekend to take part in all sorts of family events such as going to the beach, taking a three-day road trip to Disney World or Universal Studios, or maybe just drive down to Miami to take in a Marlins game.
It’s not that I see anything wrong in doing any of these things – in fact, I’ll most likely be doing some of those things myself.
But to me, Memorial Day is the day we honor all of those brave men and women who gave it all so we can enjoy the freedom that so many of us unfortunately just take for granted.
If it wasn’t for these generations of brave folks, we would not be living the lifestyles we do today. Most likely, we would not have the freedom to hold elections on the local, state and national levels.
Instead, we may have had a government similar to what currently exists in countries such as Syria and North Korea.
Whenever I drive down State Road 7 and pass the South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth, I salute it.
The folks buried in this place are my heroes and they should be your heroes as well. Talk about superheroes – these folks are the real superheroes.
Also, about once a week or so, I pay a visit to a couple of them to tell them how much I respect what they did for our country.
I guess being brought up in a family where my father and all six of my uncles were World War II vets has something to do with the way I feel. Of course, I’m sure being a Vietnam vet myself also adds to my feelings on how I feel about veterans.
All of my fathers friends served in World War II. In those days everyone served. No one burned draft cards or ran off to Canada. They all served their country.
I was brought up hearing all of these great men talking about their experiences in World War II. (Unfortunately, I was also exposed to all of their second-hand smoke.)
When the first Volkswagen Bug showed up in my neighborhood, all of these World War II veterans went crazy. They couldn’t understand how anyone who lived through the horrors of World War II could buy that car. And I still feel that way.
My wife wanted a Camry for a very long time, however, since it’s a Japanese car, she couldn’t buy it until after her father and my father died. To this day, my mother will not ride in my wife’s Japanese car. She’ll only ride in my American-made Mustang rag top.
And yes, even at 97 she loves to ride with the top down.
On Memorial day almost every town and village in our area will host some sort of event for our departed heroes. I hope you attend at least one of these events.
I will be marching in the Wellington Parade. If you see me, please say hello. After the parade I will be going to the cemetery to pay my respects.
If you know a vet or see a guy or gal in uniform, please go over to them and say, “Thanks for your service.”
You will not be sorry and you will make that vet feel very good. This I know from experience, because when I came home from Vietnam no one said “thank you” to me.