Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

This year instead of writing something for Memorial Day, I'm going to share something written by my good friend from high school, Tommy McQuade. The son of a Navy veteran, Tommy is a hero in his own right, a career firefighter who just this week worked to put out a fire on the nuclear submarine USS Miami at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.

Memorial Day is not about car sales and deals at the local giant home repair store. And while we celebrate this weekend as the opening of the summer season, with a car race at Indy and burgers in the back yard, remember WHY we have a Memorial Day in the first place. It is to remember the 1.3 million Americans who have died in the service of this nation against enemies both foreign & domestic since this nation was founded.

An old man looks out among the rows of white marble and remembers faces, names, friends and buddies. A mother weeps silently as she looks through a picture album, remembering the laughter and smiles, first fishing trips and Cub Scout meetings. A father remembers playing ball and first driving lessons. A son wears a set of dog tags, reminders of a father he never got the chance to meet. A daughter tearfully recites a poem about what it means to be a hero. Red and white flags with blue stars hang in windows, gold stars affixed to some.

The reasons for enlisting are many and varied; family tradition, a challenge, the desire for something better, a sense of duty, or simply a chance to get an education they may otherwise never be able to afford. Some never see combat, others volunteer for it. All gave us a blank check, made out to "The American People", and the amount stating "Up to and including my life".

Every soldier, sailor, Marine, or airman that sees combat is forever changed. They are never again that innocent that went off to boot-camp, that write home about lousy food, endless drilling, or how much of a bastard their drill instructors were. They all come home a little broken, some with scars so evident, others with scars inside, scars no one who hasn't walked in their boots will ever truly understand. Since 1776 Americans have given their lives in defense of freedom, to defend our shores, our liberties, and our freedoms. To protect "The Great Republic" so that it "shall not perish from this earth". Some coming home to be buried by their loved ones, some interred on foreign soil, others lost at sea. Some whose identities are "Known but to God".

As you enjoy your bar-b-que this weekend, have that cold beer around the bonfire, or splash around at the beach keep this in mind: This is Memorial Day Weekend. This is a time to remember those soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen who went and sacrificed a little bit of themselves so you could enjoy the freedom that you have to protest, to turn your back on them, to turn the channel, to rewrite history so all the dirty, ugly, repulsive things can be sanitized so no one has their feelings hurt. This weekend is about our men and women who wear and have worn the uniform of OUR armed forces.

Don't ever forget that.

Amen, Tommy. 

I also want to share a video I made last year, a video that has become my most-commented upon video by far (some with controversy but mostly supportive and even thankful) and also my most viewed, at over 216,000 views.


Coffeypot said...

Amen, indeed! Great poem!

Lynnae said...

Great post. Thank you for sharing that.

Amusing Bunni said...

Steve, your brave friend Tommy said it all.
What an excellent post!
Thank you for your service too, to our nation.
Your video is awesome, as well.

God bless you on this Memorial Day and always.

Brooke said...

What a wonderful Memorial Day post!