“Thank you” is hardly and never enough to say on Memorial Day or any other to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, for all who have served to protect and defend us and ensure that this United States of America and our Republic as principles and property continue. I say “thank you” though I know that it cannot begin to compensate and honor all who have and continue to serve. But, indeed, I say “thank you”.
My father spent a gruesome couple of years in Korea on combat duty, an unusually long combat duty because the Army was short on personnel and my father was a Chaplain, also in short supply. So he spent two brutal winters in Korea under conditions he would rarely discuss, if at all, but sometimes would allude to as to what he’d lived through — mostly he’d talk and only talk about those he mourned who hadn’t made it.
After Korea, my father remained in the Army for the rest of his life, active reserves, annual tours, years after my, my brother’s and sister’s births, when he later became a Catholic priest. The last time I saw my father in uniform, his chest was amass with medals, buttons and ribbons, yet he never talked about them — they were noticable the moreso because of his humility about what he wore.
He was never bitter, he was always ready to serve, up at five a.m. every day if not earlier. To this day, I marvel at the life he led, at what he survived and how, and especially, why.