Memorial Day. The significance is different for most of my family and friends.
My Dad, I'm sure, thinks about his father and what he suffered during World War I (yes, that's right; WWI, not WWII). Grampa Bob served all over everywhere during World War II. My Uncle Robert served in Europe toward the end of that war, and Mr. Billy Plowden "flew the hump" during that war. Mr. Norman McFadden and Mr. James E. Player had many stories to tell of their service during that time (and I'm so glad my son was able to hear them tell some of those stories before they died). Al Akin, my father-in-law, served on ship during the Korean war, then came home and worked hard to protect the men and women in the Air Force through his continued service at Robins Air Force Base. We never knew much about what he did (and I can not talk about the tiny bit I do know), but his work protected and saved many lives during the first Gulf War. Mr. Ralph Jackson also served in Korea, the forgotten war. Kurt Wuestenberg gave his life in Vietnam. Pat Mellon came home. Mack Miles and Greg Chiapetti also came home but the memories of that time continue. My nephew Matt served with the Marine Corps until a medical discharge due to diabetes. His final months of service consisted of sitting at a desk after 9/11 and calling up his buddies to tell them they were about to be shipped out. My nephew Jeff Mackinnon has served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. My nephew Wyatt Ottmar has served two combat tours. Jeff and Wyatt have many friends who have not come home. Tracy and Misty both served in the Gulf. Brian and Jim have both served in Iraq. C., Nathaniel, and Jonathan all have their names on our kitchen prayer-board as they serve right now. I'll never forget Nathaniel's baptism! James is currently serving as well.
Gramma Ruth kept things together for her daughters at home while Grampa was traveling all over everywhere. Granny Reed took care of Uncle Robert through many, many hours of intense prayer time while he was gone. Mr. James E. didn't even get to tell his family good-bye on Pearl Harbour Day; he had to get in the car and go before they got home from visiting his brother. Kurt's parents suffered from his death until the day they died and were reunited with him. My nieces Melanie and Emily keep things going at home while their husbands are gone, and care for them when they come home. My son has promised C. that in the event of his death, he will pipe his funeral. Nathaniel's wife and children wait and pray. Jonathan's mother prays hard, and when he is home unexpectedly on leave, everything else is set aside to be able to just "sit and look at him".
In this day and time, there are probably not many (if any) of you who have not had a family member or close friend who have served our country in the military. Whether the duty was combat duty or desk duty, active, reserve, or waiting at home, this is the work of heroes. For those of you who have lost dear ones, my tears are with you. For those of you who have welcomed dear ones home, only to discover that coming home sometimes means bringing home physical, mental and spiritual wounds, my prayers are with you. For those of you who have, are, or will serve; to you and your families all I can say is "THANK YOU" and reassure you again that my prayers are with you. Every time I see someone in uniform and thank them for their service, I am thanking you as well.
God's peace to our homes.