Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day, 2014

It is Memorial Day once again.  It is time to remember the people who served our country in various ways by signing up to give the last full measure of love, if that is what is required.  It is the signing up, the laying one's life on the line, that makes one a veteran.  Today we honor, in a special way those who died in that service. We also honor the living.  It is more lively to go to parades than cemeteries.  Some of us do both, but often our dead are too far away to honor by a visit this day.

There are many veterans in my family.  Above is one of my grandfathers.  He served in WWI.  He didn't go to France or even out of the Midwest.  I have heard that he took care of men with the Spanish influenza.  Luckily he didn't catch it himself and came home to marry my grandma and live a long married life as a farmer.  He had 4 children, 3 of whom married WWII veterans.  One of those was my dad who mainly served in England and drove around with the "mop-up crew" immediately after the war.

But, WWI was not the first service in my ancestry.  I had several Revolutionary War soldiers as great something grandfathers.  One died in a prison ship off New York harbor.  I had War of 1812 soldiers and Civil War soldiers among the generations as well.  I came from a fighting bunch.  If I went around laying flowers on all those graves I would be driving all over the country.

In the current generation, my husband, one of my brothers and 2 brothers-in-law were all in various branches of the service.  Some of those spent a career serving our country.  But, among our children, no one has signed up to serve.  It is a changing world.

This Memorial Day I give a thought and a prayer for those who served and have joined the communion of saints and for those who haven't yet.  Even in peace time, military service is not an easy life.  When the name goes down on that line and the hand raises in that oath, it is a promise for us all that freedom and justice are worth fighting, and even if the time arises, to die for.

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