Memorial Day hit me as we watched the parade in Harmony. This was years ago when I was in college. As I remember it, we were entertaining visitors from the great city of Chicago that weekend. We stood on Main Street, caught up in all the things 20 year olds do and say and think. Imagining the big city mindset of our guests, we joked about the quirks of our small town.Â
And then the yellow convertible drove past, and Deloris Michel turned toward us. Her expression was somber, yet brave. Lost in confusion, I wondered to myself, Why is she in the parade? Oh yes. This is not just another weekend; itâ€™s Memorial Day and she is a Gold Star Mother, having lost her son David in the Viet Nam war just recently.
Thatâ€™s when the purpose of the day slapped me in the face. We, as a country, had sent David Michel into war and he was never coming back to Harmony. War has consequences and David was one of the 20 year olds who wouldnâ€™t see his 30th birthday.
This Memorial Day lesson from decades ago stays with me. My husband was luckier than David, as he escaped Viet Nam with a wound to the shoulder. And yet, he and his buddies suffered in unspoken ways through what they saw and heard and experienced.Â
The past canâ€™t be changed, yet one thing can: How we regard those who gave of themselves so that we can enjoy our freedoms. Join me in promising to do better.Â