Memorial Day always used to signal the start of summer for me. To be honest, it usually meant a jammed packed weekend of baseball games. We would play about five games in three days and just run ourselves into the ground. But throughout the years, there is so much more to this holiday then getting a day off or playing sports.
Both of my grandfathers served in the military, which I described in my Memorial Day Blog last year. Not too many other family members served in my family; however, I am learning more and more with each year, how important of a holiday Memorial Day represents.
When I was 11 years old, my mother’s father passed away. He was a veteran from WWII and Korea. I will always remember a certain moment from my papa’s funeral. We were in the car behind the hearse and driving through Shreveport, LA. And there, on the side of the rode, I saw a man saluting my papa. He did not know him; however, he saw the flag covering his coffin and knew how to respond. He remembered the importance of what he did for his country.
As I type this, I have the movie Taking Chance (2009) starring Kevin Bacon in the background. It is based on the true story of Lt. Col. Mike Strobel be the military escort of PFC Chance Phelps, who died while fighting in Iraq. All along the way, he sees some people who do not care who or why he is there, while others show the respect that someone who died for our country deserves.
There is a scene in the movie that after all the flying, they have to drive to his hometown in Wyoming. While driving, an eighteen wheel truck begins to pass the hearse when he turns on his headlights and takes off his hat. This begins the process of car after car showing the respect PFC Phelps deserved. It makes me think of my papa and that man on the side of the road.
The wife wonders why I watch this movie so much. Besides the fact I like the movie, it reminds me of all those who have paid the ultimate price so that we can remain free. So many young men and women will not make it back home to see all the lives that they touch.
Remember those who gave their lives so we can enjoy the freedom we do enjoy each day. I want to say a special thank you to the family of Christopher Katzenberger, medic in C Company who lost his life on August 9, 2005. You can read more about him and his service by clicking on his name. He is a fellow alumni from the class of 1998 from DeSmet Jesuit High School. I knew him only through school and did not cross paths after graduation. None the less, because of his service to our country, I am proud to say I went to high school with him. Thank you Chris for all you did for our country.
In honor of Memorial Day, watch this clip from a spectator who taped the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery I saw this in person once and it is quite powerful!