Memorial Day. It is more than just barbecues and the start of summer vacations. It means SO much more than those things. It means honoring the men and women who died serving our country and those veterans who succumbed to their service-connected injury and/or illnesses.
When I was growing up, my family would leave the Friday before Memorial Day to drive to NE Ohio to visit my dad’s parents. While there, we would lay flowers on the graves of our loved ones who passed away, even though they hadn’t served in the military.
This Memorial Day weekend is the second one for me without my dad physically here. In March 2018, he lost his battle with angioimmunoblastic peripheral T-cell lymphoma. It’s a rare type of lymphoma which was caused by his exposure to Agent Orange during his military service in Vietnam. He disowned me in the summer of 2014. I attribute it to the influences of his wife (my stepmother) and chemo wreaking havoc on his brain. Even though my stepmother told her not to tell me he had passed, my daughter emailed me to let me know he was gone.
Last summer, I came across this quote: “The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said.” This is definitely true for my dad’s passing. Growing up, I was a dad’s girl, and losing my relationship with him for the 3-1/2 years prior to his passing was the toughest thing I had to come to terms with. The one thing I can rejoice in is that he had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and because of that, I will see him, again.
While you are enjoying your Memorial Day barbecues with family and friends, please remember the men and women who selflessly laid down their lives for our great country.
God Bless America!
USAF, 100% Disabled Veteran
Operation Southern Watch, Jan-Apr 1997