“Happy Memorial Day” is a phrase that conflicts me. This American holiday is a day of remembering our nation’s men and women who died in service to our country. I can’t be happy about any loss of life or the thought that war always seems to be the answer, and loss of innocent life is the result.
My father fought in two wars in service to this great nation. The fact that he survived the Battle of the Bulge and a fierce hand-to-hand combat in Korea, astounds me. The terrifying ordeal of fighting in a foreign land strewn with the carnage of his comrades and friends, is a horror I cannot fathom. This is the fate of the fortunate soldier; millions of others have perished in these agonizing battles. They are who we honor and remember today.
Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war.
My father now rests among the endless rows of alabaster tombstones of our nation’s heroes, in the hallowed ground of Arlington National cemetery. But the remains of many of those who have perished in battle have never made it home.
Across the ocean, on the now peaceful shores of Normandy, once strewn with the bodies of young Americans, there is a somber and hallowed graveyard. The French have graciously granted this place in perpetuity for the remains of soldiers who fought in a foreign land for a people they never met.
The horrors of wars and the loss of American heroes – our fathers, sons and daughters, husbands, brothers and sisters – is our nation’s heartache. It should be a constant reminder that there is an ultimate price paid for freedom. “Freedom is never free.”
Memorial Day will be happy when war is no longer the solution to the disagreements between countries and people. Until such a glorious day of awakening among citizens and world leaders, I remember our nation’s fallen with gratitude for their selfless service and ultimate sacrifice.
I join a grateful nation today praying for heavenly repose for our dead brave and for peace in the hearts of those who mourn them. And I will continue to pray for peace and to hold onto my hope for humanity.