I’d like to take a moment and wish everyone a safe and thoughtful Memorial Day Weekend. To me, this weekend is much more about remembrance and gratitude than hot dogs and celebration. (Kath and I are going to have hot dogs on Monday, however.)
Memorial Day Weekend is a time to pause and memorialize the approximately 1,355,000 soldiers that have given their lives for our country, with 405,399 in WWII alone. They deserve more respect from us, liberals and conservatives both, than we have been giving them in these most divisive of times.
The following is a repost from exactly six years ago today and has and will continue to be posted as long as there is Jeff’s Corner. I’m proud to have written it, and cry every year when I read it.
Jeff’s Corner 5-22-15
The door opened at the wine shop last Sunday on Main Street, and a much older man made his way up the two steps bent over his walker. He was sporting a brand new black cap with “U. S. Marines” embroidered on it in gold letters. He was followed by two younger guys.
They walked up to the tasting bar and one of the younger gentleman said, “This is my Grandfather, we just came from the Pacific War Museum. My Grandpa landed on the beach at Iwo Jima, fought the entire battle, and would like to try some wine."
I wasn't serving them, but I interrupted and told him it would be an honor to shake his hand, and that he was a hero. He looked at me with a sparkle in his eyes and a firm handshake, saying that he graduated from high school in San Antonio in 1942 and couldn't wait to join the Marine Corps.
Today starts Memorial Day Weekend, a holiday, but every year I take a step back to think about why we have the freedom to take this day off. We are honoring more soldiers that have died for us than we could ever imagine.
Memorial Day celebrations began after the Civil War to honor the 620,000 Union and Confederate dead. It was called “Decoration Day” which continued the tradition of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers.
To me, this day has nothing to do with politics and hawks and doves. Looking into the eyes of that Marine last Sunday, I didn’t see an older man with most of his life behind him; I saw a young kid trying to suppress a fear very few of us could ever comprehend. He was charging up a forsaken beach in the Pacific Ocean for his generation, and our generations to come...