There were moments we asked with little response, and there were moments where we learned bits and pieces. So many fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and men who lived and experienced so much are reluctant to recall their experiences in combat. Whether its months, years, or decades later, many veterans choose to allow history books to tell their story.
Of course, there are many who will talk and we’re blessed with the stories. When you get into the local cities, Everett, Malden and Melrose, the men of World War II are now grandfathers and great grandfathers and 1946 is more than a distant memory.
There’s an incredible amount of honor in their reluctance to share their stories, a classic example of personal constitution. “We won, now lets go home, get back to our lives and move on.” A truly American attitude.
What’s interesting is what has occurred in the generations who have followed. From the Hippies to Gen X to the Millennials, younger Americans have never fully grasped the one principle – “it’s all in a day’s work.”
In America we are a nation of complainers, excuse makers, finger pointers and propagandists, and one can argue that we’re losing the that truly inherent American trait… toughness.
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, a dedication to those who have died in battle. Those men and women not looking for a legacy, not fighting for a future generation to beg, lie, cheat and steal and kill each other over nothing. They fought with courage, honor and fearlessness.
We have parades to celebrate their courage to face death. We play our uplifiting military anthems, 200 years later their songs that ignite the spirit, celebrate the power of combined effort, creativity, and sacrifice. We end our services with a solemn song of Taps, quietly remembering that life is precious. As generations move forward, we have the power to eliminate War, if we apply the same effort, creativity and sacrifice.
Looking ahead, this newest generation of Americans will either be remembered for our ability to tough out formidable foe’s: two active wars, an economic recession, joblessness and stagnation of the housing and stock market. Or, of course, we can be the generation who resurrected our people from a dark age.
This Memorial Day, let’s celebrate the courage one needs to face a common enemy, which is most often ourselves. Let’s remember that there’s nothing wrong with having a moral compass that guides you day to day. That compass can lead you back to your home, your community, where you can help rebuild this great country. Shop at a local store, volunteer your time every week, work to make this country great.
In order for us to truly advance, we’ll need to keep the memory of those who died for us in our hearts and minds every day. We will have to use that memory as inspiration for future success.