Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Because it has evolved a bit over the years since it was instituted, it has in some cases come to be a day to remember deceased relatives with cemetery visits, family reunions, as well as an occasion to pay homage to those who have served in the military (past and present). But, let us not forget that the primary purpose is the remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country and their fellow Americans.
I am blessed that those men of my family who served in the United States military did not make that ultimate sacrifice. My maternal grandfather, John H. Sayre, Sr., served in the United States Army in World War II; my uncle, John H. Sayre, Jr., served in the United States Air Force in Vietnam; my father, Curtis Douglas Dale, served in the United States Air Force for about 27 years; my brother, Hazen Douglas Dale, served in the United States Air Force for over 10 years; and my husband, Walter W. Darnall, Jr., served in the United States Air Force for 22 years. We also had many other friends and family through the years who served in various branches of the military. Some for a short time, some for an entire career. It is in their honor, as well as those who did die in the service of our country that I write my column this week.
Memorial Day weekend means the start of the summer season, the end of school, and perhaps an extra day off to most of us. Not that any of these are bad things. But, let us know allow the real reason for the holiday to get lost. Let us make sure we pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for our continuing freedom and safety, and often for the freedom and safety of others throughout the world. Because American military have served and died all across this nation and this planet. Just as they still do today. Even as I write this, and as you read this, we have military men and women in harm's way. So, let us take a bit of time between the picnic, rodeo, BBQ, and family fun to remember those who keep us free to enjoy special occasions like these. And, in particular, those who did not return home after doing their duty.
May you have a happy Memorial Day. May God bless America. May He bless those who serve this day and those who served before. May He most especially bless and welcome home to rest those who paid the cost of freedom.
© Suzann C. Darnall, MAY 2012, San Marcos, Texas
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