Memorial Day is a solemn day set aside for remembrance of those who have died in our nations service. Memorial Day was first proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan and was first observed on 30 May 1868; when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. It is now observed in almost every state of the union on the last Monday of every May. Since the Civil War more than 1.1 million veterans, both women and men, have lost their lives in service to America.
I’ve been many places on Memorial Day and wish I had the opportunity to witness a memorial at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl tomorrow instead of working. The United States submarine service suffered the highest percentage of casualties than any other of the services that served in WWII. They sank over 55% of all Japanese shipping sunk in WWII. This has been pointed out to me with pride by several Hawaiian veterans.
As our National Anthem is played many will start to cry as they remembered all of their fallen comrades, the ones that served with them, and the ones that did not. I think about my grandfather Woodrow Cox, his CO John Squire Drendel, Terry Cox, Glen Constantine, Mike Paschkes, Bob Draper and the countless others that made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may all enjoy freedom.
Several WWII veterans have told me about the hardships and struggles and the fact they are lucky to be alive when so many of their brothers had fallen victim to the war. One talked about how it was up to the veterans to teach “our children about the sacrifices made by so many”. Another said, “that America will only be the land of the free so long as it is the home of the Brave”. WWII veterans speak with so much pride about America that its hard not to think about all the people who have no idea what this holiday is really about. While they go to work, their Bar B Q’s and beaches there are some who wish to keep up a tradition of pride in service to the United States of America and remember all those who had fallen, and rejoice in the ones who still live and remember.
LET NONE OF US EVER FORGET WHAT MEMORIAL DAY REALLY IS.