Monday was Memorial Day. I know it was founded to honor those who died in our military services. There’s Veterans Day for honoring living GIs and someone said Armed Forces Day is for honoring those who are active in the military.
I know all this, but still wind up thinking of not only the dead, but the living, the survivors.
I mentioned at the Woodbury Heights Memorial Day ceremony on Saturday my belief that everyone who has ever donned the uniform has faced death, whether they were in combat or not, because, well, just by serving, they were in harm’s way.
It’s easy for me to become distracted. Come Memorial Day, despite all of my good intentions, I do consider summer to have started, unofficially.
And when I start recalling GIs I knew or knew about who have died in service, I can’t help thinking as well about GIs who have served — stateside, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, peacekeeping missions in the Sinai Desert, Africa and the Balkans.
Nowadays, I associate Memorial Day with the kind people of Woodbury Heights who, in the person of Councilman Jake Jacobs, have invited me to speak at their Memorial Day ceremony for 11 years now.
With that kind of record, it’s no wonder the folks at the event pay attention not only to what I might have to say in regard to Memorial Day, but to more personal details — namely, they followed my progress from being diagnosed with cancer right through my surgeon’s proclamation that I was cancer-free.
And now, we have once again laid to rest the spirits of our honored war dead, our distractions and good intentions, and have entered good old unofficial summer.