Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

I'm supposed to finishing up a business plan right now.  But I got writer's block and decided to check my emails.  Someone sent me the link to the video included in this post.  It touched my heart.  Because I know people who  have served in the military and who have fought during wartime. 

My maternal grandfather and my maternal step-grandfather both fought in WWII.  Apparently it caused an intense amount of stress and pain for my maternal grandfatherSo much so that he locked himself in a room for an entire year due to depression.  We now know his kind of suffering better as post-traumatic stress disorder.  My grandmother left him several years later.  I have never met the man.  I only hear a few stories.  I also hear he has a huge scrapbook of sorts that chronicles his experiences during the war.  I hope one day I get to see it.  I'm still deciding if I want to see him.  His "issues" left a big scar on the rest of his family, including my mother, who was one of the recipients of his anger and depression.

My step-grandfather is actually quite the opposite. He's a pretty positive person, no matter what's going on around him.  He came through the situation pretty much emotionally intact and moved on with his life.    He met and married my grandmother at the VA where they both worked and he never really talked about his experiences in combat, but every once in awhile he would get out his albums and go through them with us.  Then Saving Private Ryan came out.  I asked him if he was going to see it.  He stated simply, "I already lived it.  One tour through Hell was enough for me."  That was the first time he had hinted that it might have been difficult for him.  Then he was asked to write some of his story for a reporter.  He talked about the day they landed on Omaha Beach and some of the horrific things he saw and endured.  And that was it.  He's never really talked about it again. 

So it's Memorial Day weekend and I think of these two men.  And I think of others like them who became soldiers.  Some of them are old now.  Some of them are young and still trying to make a life for themselves.  All of them made sacrifices for their country that either changed their lives forever or took their lives from them.  And there is nothing I can say that would pay them back adequately for their efforts.  So I will simply thank those who lost their lives in the line of duty, along with their families, for making the ultimate sacrifice.  My family will try to ensure that your life was not given in vain as we struggle to hold on to our precious freedoms and heritage. 

And I will also take the time to thank the living who have served and who are still serving their fellow citizens as VOLUNTEERS in our military.  People like you are the reason our country is great.  Thank you for your valor and courage.  You are loved and appreciated. 


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