Memorial Day 2007
During the predawn hours, when the human mind hangs in that zone that is not quite dream, not quite fully aware, new thoughts often emerge. Before I fully awoke this Memorial Day morning, my new thought was that I need to acknowledge the debt that I owe not only to those who have died in military service to the USA, but also those who were wounded during their service. Their struggle may still continue after the military conflict, and their contributions and outlook on life certainly do, too.
Often, their wisdom, outlook, and experience is so profound that I can only pause quietly, and wordlessly realize how little I can identify with the price that has been paid. And, I realize once again how grateful I am to all of these Veterans, not only dead but also alive.
Two years ago, I recognized a High School friend, Garland. Today, my predawn mind led me to recall Ray. Ray is the son of a man who owned a business in the same town that my Father also owned a business. Ray went to Nam. I did not. Ray took a bullet in the hip, and I did not. Yes, at times I do wrestle with "survivor Syndrome" even though Ray did return to the USA.
I was, happily, Ray's Best Man. He and his bride were deeply in love, but unfortunately, it wasn't soon after the wedding that we drifted apart. So now, it has been something like thirty years that I have spoken with Ray. I have decided to do something about that, and to let Ray know that I am thankful for what he did. I don't think I really was able to do that in person, while I was a Twenty-something young man who did not know how to express those innermost feelings. It is time.
Yes, we have Veterans Day in November. Then, we thank them all. But that does not mean we have to limit Memorial Day to those who gave everything, their very lives. I have wrestled with that, too, but I am not letting that stop me from expanding my personal expression of gratitude. So, Ray, get ready! I'm going to be looking for you, and I am looking forward to catching up.