Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day, 2015 - A Soldier Remembered

This post originally appeared on Memorial Day, 2010. However, the thoughts expressed then are just as relevant two years later as we honor those that have served and who are currently serving our country in our armed forces to protect ourselves and our freedom.

No political ranting and raving today. No pointing out how the politicians continue to screw up the country, constantly denying and depriving us of our freedoms and liberties to the benefit of their political careers. Today is a day of remembrance, of the millions of Americans that have served the country in the past and in the present, many times sacrificing their lives for our freedom and liberty. Please spend a few minutes today thinking of them in any way possible and remembering that many of our fellow citizens and family members are on the front lines around the world today, facing serious danger, but unselfishly protecting us.

One soldier in particular is on my mind today. My father served in World War II with the 203rd Engineer Combat Battalion. It is my understanding that the 203rd came ashore at Omaha Beach in June, 1944, served across France, was involved in the Battle Of The Bulge in late 1944 and eventually made its way into Germany. It was destined for the Pacific Theater but had those plans cancelled when Japan surrendered. He was honorably discharged in late 1945.

I say that it was my understanding because my father rarely spoke of the war, I had to find out this information from secondary sources. He did not brag about his service, he did not boast of the battles he may or may not have seen, he did not regale us with tales of heroism. 

It is also my understanding that he is not alone in this approach. Stories abound of similar attitudes among World War II veterans. They did what had to be done, often at great cost, to protect the country and the ideals it stands for. They did not consider themselves heroes, they just did what had to be done. They then returned to become regular citizens and got on with their lives. No egos, no self-centeredness, just a dedication to country and family.

I never thanked my father for his service in the fight for liberty and freedom, not sure growing up that I fully understood the sacrifices he and others made for us. I would like to do that today, seventeen years after he passed away. I would also like to hope that our politicians eventually realize what great costs have been expended to keep us free and that they re-dedicate themselves to maintaining freedom, for all Americans in so many different ways. Making freedom the core of their service in politics and government should be their highest priority, not their re-election. May they for once forego their own egos and selfcenteredness, for the good of the country, like our military peple have done for centuries.

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