I received this touching email from a dear, 76-year-old reader and veteran, Don. He served during Vietnam, as did my own father. I want to publicly thank both of them for their service, and share Don's email with you all:
"I'm an emotional old man, and at times I become so emotional that I can't speak coherently, so I didn't call anyone to say what I want to say for fear I would choke up and not be able to speak.
Perhaps writing it will suffice.
On Memorial Day in 2009 I unfurled Old Glory and placed her in her stanchion on a post of my carport to wave in the gentle breeze in honor of those men and women who gave their lives in uniform so that all of us can enjoy our liberty.
Then I went about my daily routine, all the while mourning those who died for us.
I've known people who died in service of our country since the days of World War II.
One of my best friends who was a year ahead of me in high school was drafted shortly after he graduated, soon sent to Korea, and killed within a week. I served on our high school ROTC honor firing squad at his funeral......one of the toughest things I have ever done.
My oldest brother served under combat conditions when American forces returned to liberate the Philippines from Japanese forces. He survived that war and is still alive. My next older brother, now deceased, also served in WWII without seeing combat and also survived that war My next older brother served in the Air Force during the so-called "conflict" in Korea, but was never sent there, so he also survived and is still living. I served during the war in Vietnam, but was never sent there.
I think the three of us were blessed to have been able to not only serve our country, but to have survived that service.
I hope that on Memorial Day 2009 every American took at least a few moments to in some way honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for them, and to reflect on how blessed they are to live in freedom in the USA."
Thank you for sharing, Don. I hope we'll remember to not just reflect today but everyday.