Remembering Our Veterans & Active Duty Military - Memorial Day 2009
Please set it aside in reverence for all those who have served with honor and are now departed. And please join us for a moment of silence at 1500 hours your local time, for remembrance and prayer.
Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: Today, many will gather with friends and family and enjoy a day of fun and fellowship. Some will recall a "special" person or memory related to Memorial Day. However, all of us can share in the remembrance of the brave Americans who serve or served and especially those who sacrificed their lives to preserve our values of freedom and liberty.
Most of us know a veteran: a son, a daughter, a spouse, a parent, a friend, a lover, a neighbor, etc. As for me, I must have inherited "a military gene." My birth father, Harvey Stewart, enlisted in the Army from Ohio and served in WWII. As an infantryman he received the Silver Star in the Battle of the Bulge and then fought in the Korean War. My father (dad), Wayne Smith, dropped out of high school to enlist in the Army from Illinois "to fight" in WWII. He was assigned to an engineering unit in the Army Air Corps. He was one of the youngest in his unit and was in several military "campaigns" in the South Pacific.
Both returned to different lives. Harvey Stewart, like many veterans, never fully recovered from the effects of the memories of war. However, Wayne Smith returned, married and in a few years they adopted me as their first son. Dad never shared about the trauma of war until after I entered the service. But, he did instill in me a love and respect for America. On Memorial Day, we attended parades (when community parades were fashionable), we visited the graves of veterans, and he shared about his war buddies. He loved sharing about the welcome of the Filipino people when the Philippine Islands were liberated.
By the time I graduated form high school, the Vietnam War was raging. At 19, and newly married, I received my invite (draft notice) and enlisted in the Air Force. Little did I know that it would become 22 year career (enlisted for 5 1/2 years; an officer for 16 1/2 years). My bond with my father became closer, and dad shared with me his experiences previously reserved to be shared with fellow comrades-in-arms.
While I wish that the world was different, it is not. I would that no man or woman would need to serve in the military. But I am very proud of those that do! In saying this, I was blessed to have experienced the continued military bond with my son, Brian Smith, who served as an Air Force officer and who now works in a civilian position helping to protect America.
Memorial Day remains for me a special day remembering! Dad has now joined his comrades and rests in peace. My day will come quick enough. Until then, my duty is to remember those who served faithfully, to remember those who serve presently, to remember my oath as an officer to defend the Constitution, and to remember to stand for liberty and justice and against tyranny.
God bless America, its veterans and those who presently serve and protect it!
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