Honoring the Vets in My Family

Ron at Arlington

Memorial Day, otherwise known as Decoration Day, was established on May 5, 1868, as a time to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs:

"Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared it should be May 30. It is believed the date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C"

I have two relatives that died in active service. One of my uncles died during WWII. A cousin, one of seven children, was killed during the Viet Nam War. My husband and I took our children to find his name on the Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington, DC.

Many of my family members have served in the military, and that is an act of sacrifice,too. Both my father and my husband's father were in the Navy during WWII. My husband's step-grandfather served in Korea. My brother was in the Air Force during the Viet Nam War, and he did serve overseas, although not in Viet Nam. My husband's older brother served three tours of duty in Viet Nam, and his younger brother served in the Coast Guard. Finally, my son's tour of duty in the Marines ended last May.

My son was in the Commandant's Own Drum and Bugle Corps. He played the soprano bugle, and one of his jobs was to play "Taps" at Marine funerals in Arlington. I had never thought about it, really, before he told me this, but he said he took this job seriously because this particular song contains the last twenty-four notes of anyone's life. Sobering thought, isn't it?

I cannot even imagine what it feels like to hear that you lost a relative in combat, and I know that just serving in the military is a sacrifice for the families involved. It doesn't seem too much to ask to take one day to honor those who have served. So today, if you have a serviceman or vet in your family, thank them. And if you don't, please take a moment and pray for those who do.

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