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Memorial Day - A Time to Remember


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At some point during the long weekend, I hope we all take a moment to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day. It’s not about the camping or bbq’s, or even the extra day off work. It’s about all the men and women who have fought and died for our freedom in order that we could do these things. So next time you say “Happy Memorial Day†to someone, take a moment and think how “happy†it is for the mothers and fathers who have lost a son or daughter, or the wife or husband who have lost their spouse. Think of the children who no longer have one or both of their parents. Think of the brothers and sisters who have died for our country so that we can do all of the wonderful things we all take so much for granted. That’s what Memorial Day is all about! A time to remember and give thanks.

I want to take a moment to thank my Father a (World War II) vet (deceased), and to remember my brother Ricky (Vietnam) (deceased). Thank you to my daughter Jody (who recently served in Iraq) now medically retired. I would like to thank all the soldiers both past and present who read this, and those who can't anymore. I commend you for your bravery and I honor your memory.

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We owe our freedom and our lives to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Sometimes we forget that our military men and women aren't the only ones who serve, but that their families also serve.

Yesterday I went to the cemetery where my parents and 15 year old niece are interred to water flowers and, sitting on the bench, I noticed a young girl's marker directly across from it. She was only 29 years old, not married when she passed away. Later, I saw a fairly young man sitting on the same bench looking at the grave with tears in his eyes. When I had finished watering, he was walking, and I said, "It's sad to have someone here to visit, but if we must, it's a beautiful cemetery," referring to South Brunswick's Holy Cross Cemetery, where we were.

I learned that this 29 year old was his eldest daughter, who always "mothered" her younger brothers and sisters, and who took her own life after her youngest brother, 23, was killed in Afghanistan. He said, "We tried to reach her, but she was devastated and couldn't be consoled." We discussed the wars and his point of view was that the young people want to go because they feel they must; that if they don't fight there, we'll be fighting on our soil. He pointed to his beautiful white truck that had "Freedom isn't free" emblazoned on it in red, white and blue "for both of them."

I realized that the true patriots make the ultimate sacrifice, but that their families are often sacrificed in the bargain. We owe everything to those who serve and those who have served, especially those who never came back. And also to their families. For them all, we must never forget.


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