Memorial Day starts out like any other day. Pets need feeding, crows and ravens begin their morning screams, a few finches and doves stop by the feeder, like any other day. Then messages start popping up on the phone. Friends and contacts sending messages to wish you a good Memorial Day and send thanks for your service. Perfectly innocent, and a reminder the annual trip down memory lane is about to begin.
Veterans think about those they have served with, those who have died in action or the result of injuries – both physical and emotional that follow warriors home from conflict. Veterans know that while many thank us for our service, on Memorial Day homage is given to our brothers and sisters, current and past, who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country during and surrounding war.
Our annual trek to the McCambridge Park War Memorial in Burbank follows a pattern. People come to the Memorial Day gathering for a variety of reasons. Some arriving at the park are visibly a bit distant, quiet, and simply gaze at the memorial looking for some kind of answer.
A Marine wearing a T-Shirt with graphics from the Solomon Islands, logos identifying the 1/9 and the 1st Marine Division. Honiara, Guadalcanal, Chesty Puller, World War Two – America’s Marine Corps legacy. The Marine talks about Fallujah, how his comrades survived, but not all survived fully intact, and light banter with a fellow veteran about experiences, then and now.
We’ll likely meet again next year, same place, same time. Same reasons.