Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Today I plan on attending the Memorial Day parade in Holliston, MA; a little town not too far from Boston. We'll probably park the car at St. Mary's, arriving early enough to get a shady seat on the bench in front of Fisk's Variety Store. My wife's family and friends will be there.

There will be the distant sound of a High School band and the crackle of police walkie-talkies. The kids will wave flags and have red, white, and blue balloons. It's a lot of excitement for a small town.

As the parade nears our vantage point across from the Superette, with blue lights flashing, Charlotte's uncle John will round the corner onto Route 16 in his patrol car; clad in his Ray-Ban's and a proud smile, and he'll blip the siren signaling the last few pedestrians to clear the parade route. Behind him the rumble of a 30's something-or-other roadster, and the clickty-clack of a Ford Model-T will be drowned out by the applause of those of us lining the sidewalks. A round of cheers for the WWII vets, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and those in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The wizened faces of nameless historical figures, once young and vibrant, will ride by full of military pride. Before us, a chapter in the history of the US will fade into the distance as the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and Brownies round the corner.

It happens every year.

I think about the parades of my childhood, remembering the white Chevy Biscayne convertible carrying the WWI vets. My dad was one of them. A proud WWII and Korean War vet with two purple hearts paraded past his family.

Today my thoughts are as real as the crackle of gun fire during a 21-gun salutes. Taps plays over and over in my head.

I still think of all those the had once lay dying on the battle field so that I could live and work, worship and pontificate online as I see fit.

I wondered how many cried out to God before making the ultimate sacrifice? How many were going to be in Heaven with me? What if they hadn't served and lost their lives? Would I still be free?

I remember my father's wake like it was yesterday. There lay the body of a man who spent most of his life as a disabled vet. He nearly died, not once, but twice for his country. Sargent Rice from the DAV came that day, to honor my dad. I can hear her voice, "Sargent Johndrow, I salute you." And they closed his casket forever.

Whatever you think of this country, I promise you, there are those that have given their lives so that you can read this blog. Honor them today by giving thanks for your freedom - if you have it.

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