EDGEWATER, Fla. -- Memorial day is just a day to any but to those of us who have relatives who served and perhaps were wounded and died for their country it is a very special day.
My flag is always flying outside my door with the light shining on it at night as should be.
The flag reminds me of generations of my male ancestors’ who served. My Grandfather who came here from Italy when he was a boy was part of the Calvary division in World War I. I have a picture of him on his horse standing on two legs like The Lone Ranger on TV.
My uncles, Edward and Norman were in World War II.
Edward was at the Battle of the Bulge and Uncle Norm landed on Iwo Jima with the guys in the famous picture of the flag planting on the hill.
He was a medic and rarely spoke of that time but did tell me once that it was the most horrible experience he ever had. He said everyone was sick on the boat going over to England and he thought that was the worst until the landing. By then they all had their sea legs but were not prepared for what they found as they landed among flying bullets. Thankfully, they both came home with just memories and neither spoke of those times. They went about their lives, married and had kids and just lived.
Uncle Ed went to his group’s reunions with his wife Aunt Ella all over the country until he got too sick to go anymore. Members were in touch with her for years after. Then came Viet Nam and my cousin Al went over. He was in a unit that built roads, etc and he drove heavy equipment. One day he hit a mine and was blown off the machine, went to hospital in Germany and then home. He was not physically bad but he was haunted thereafter. He married and had children but his nerves were shot and he drank too much but he just retired from his job at a school and carries on as best he can.
While the Grandfathers and Uncles never spoke of their experiences Viet Nam men didn’t say much but they were no older than those in the previous wars but didn’t seem able to cope afterwards. I often wondered what the difference in the wars was or was it a difference in the men, still have no clue. So, Memorial Day to many of us is not just a day off and a picnic. It is a day of remembrance and a special time to revered our gallant family members.