(MEMORIAL DAY is a sacred day. Let’s remember all the men and women who have died in service to our country. Even with all of our problems, people worldwide are still clamoring for entry to The United States of America. Even if you’ve never known anyone who has died or served in a war, take a moment today to bow your head in remembrance and gratitude.)
This is a re-post from last year:
This morning, on my walk through my gorgeous, lush neighborhood, I glanced across the street at an older man heading uphill in the opposite direction. His wife, using a cane, languished a few feet behind him.
“Are you a veteran?” I called out.
“Yes,” he smiled warmly. “Korea. 1953. I was a marine.” Bill was his name and he’s 82 years old.
“I’m so happy to see you today,” I said. “I like to commemorate Memorial Day with more than a shopping spree and a barbeque.”
His smile told me that he appreciated what I’d said. We small-talked for a minute and then we parted ways in opposite directions.
As a young person growing up and for many decades therafter, I used to think that Memorial Day was about the supersales and the family cookouts. Especially, though, it was about that extra day off from school or work.
Then, in my 40s, while living in California, I met Leo Finegold, who, at 18, was held as a POW by the Germans for a month. Leo, who is now 88, told me about the squalid conditions, the fear, the cold and the filth which permeated his experience and forever imprinted his life.
Leo became the most important man ever to enter my life. And, it was Leo’s stories that instilled in me the true significance of Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is a sacred day of recognition of the lives lost, the bodies broken and decimated, the minds and lives inextricably altered by the experience of war.
Throughout history, many millions of people in countries all over the world have lived and presently do live amidst the terror of the theater of war. Thankfully, we Americans have never had this experience.
So, today, when you find yourself giddy with the all the great deals you’re getting at the mall and/or enjoying a second or third helping of barbeque and potato salad, just stop for a moment – just one, SACRED moment, to give thanks in your mind and heart to all of the men and women who have given or lost so much in service to our beautiful country.
In closing, I give thanks and remembrance to my deceased uncles Ronald, Spencer, and Franklin Reinig: my best friend, Diane’s, father, Philip; her uncle, Nicky, who was also held as a POW by the Germans after his plane was shot down; and, her uncle Johnny – all of whom served in World War II. And, my friend, Glenn Damon, who, as a National Guardsman, ended up serving several tours during the war in Iraq and who, in the process, lost a lot of what he held dear.
Most especially, I give thanks to my dear friend, Leo Finegold, who used his life in service to others and is one of the most loving and beloved people I have ever met.