Memorial Day. A day to remember those who died in our nation’s service. For most people it’s the first summer holiday. Picnics, trips to the beach, bar-b-ques in the back yard. I have nothing against that, we bought a new grill and inaugurated it last night with a couple of really nice Angus beef ribeye steaks. If the weather were a bit warmer I’d have gone out and gotten some back yard lounging furniture and be working on a tan.
But, on *this* Memorial Day another generation of my family has joined the service. Memorial Day has taken on a whole new meaning. All the members of my family who have served in the Armed Forces are alive and well and in civilian jobs or retired (with the exception of my grandfather who passed away in the early 80’s who was retired Army). The thought that occupies my mind today is “Will there be a day in the future when I take flowers to the grave of a soldier, my son?”
I generally live in the present with no more than operational glimpses into the future, usually the short term future at that. What will I wear to work tomorrow? I ask that because I’m getting ready to do laundry. What will I have for dinner tomorrow? Helps me decide if I need to stop at the store. What does tomorrow’s weather look like – see “laundry” and “what will I wear” above.
Now I find myself drifting off into longer term day-dreams about this fall after my son finishes his training or next year – will he be serving in the Middle East? My daughter’s boyfriend (whom I love dearly) is in the Navy. Will the next flare-up see him deployed to support Naval aviators in a distant sea? I have nephews who are in the last years of their secondary schooling – will their mother be successful in persuading them to stay out of the service? They both have excellent chances of being accepted at any of our Military Academies.
My son is in the Army and he hopes to join the Airborne corps. I pray for his success and safety but I’m not in denial that those are very likely mutually exclusive states.