Memorial Day is the time to remember and honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Lately, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with all the recognition I’ve been receiving while wearing my Navy pride/Veteran pride t-shirts and/or ball caps. People walking by have consistently stopped to shake my hand and tell me “Thank you for your Service.” Cashiers at H-E-B and other stores are always acknowledging my service with a thank you. At two different times at Chili’s, people have bought me drinks. You better believe I like that!
But on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, it is extremely important that all of us, veterans and non-veterans alike, take the time to remember and honor those who gave their lives for our country. It’s not Veteran’s Day, its Memorial Day! We should all shed a tear. We should all acknowledge the importance of this day by attending a ceremony, flying a flag or just having a quiet moment of reflection in your home with your family.
On December 19, 1990 on our way to Gulf War I, onboard the U.S.S. Tripoli, we lost four young men in a helicopter crash. They were two pilots and two rescue swimmers. We could only recover one body so sadly three men plus a helicopter are buried at sea. Their families never got the chance to properly bury their husbands, sons, or fathers.
While I knew all four men the two rescue swimmers worked in the department I supervised. Until that fateful day, I saw those two young men almost every day. They would come into my office and while one distracted me, the other would steal my cigarettes. They lived healthy, athletic lives and were always trying to convince me to stop smoking.
To this day I get emotional every time they pop into my mind, which happens often, especially on Memorial Day. They loved to fly. They never missed a chance to log some flight time on our helicopter.
We can’t shake their hands and tell them thank you for your service. We can’t buy them a beer. But we can honor their willingness to serve and sacrifice their lives for our beautiful country by recognizing the importance of Memorial Day, by treating each other with respect and kindness. Memorial Day is not a time for sales, it’s a time to honor.
The American GI Forum of Seguin will conduct a flag raising ceremony in honor of Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, at 10 a.m., at Manuel Castilla Park. The public is invited.