I have mixed feelings for Memorial Day. I do enjoy the extra time off to work in my garden, ride the Coastal Trail on my bike, do a little birding and play with my new camera, or just taking it easy at home. We generally don't go out of town for the holiday. We let everyone else leave.
I do start thinking about the veterans in my family who are no longer with us. That list is getting bigger since the majority of them are or were WWII veterans and age is taking it's toll. My Mom's brother, my Uncle Len was the last one to pass away just two weeks ago. He was a proud WWII Navy veteran. All but one of the WWII Veterans in my immediate family has passed on. Uncle Joe is the youngest and he's still with us. My dad was Army. His desert training did him well going all over Europe in WWII. He's been gone almost 15 years now. I have a picture of him and his brother Buck on my desk. Both in uniform. I miss my Dad everyday.
The next big war (police action) was Vietnam. My two brothers were Navy and my brother in law Mike was Army. Mike was the only one to go to Vietnam. They are all still with us and doing well. I'm considered a Vietnam Era Veteran, but the war was officially over while I was still at Lackland AFB, Texas. I was lucky to stay out of harms way in my 20 year career.
Veterans are the ones that provide for what we cherish the most, freedom. Freedom to live, work, worship, disagree and so many other things. They protected us when we're awake and asleep. In my career I worked many holidays, birthdays, days and nights. I've been to places that were awesome and places I don't want to even think about again. My own safety was in the hands of others, white, black or yellow. Didn't matter. You watched out for them and they did for you, not thinking of your own safety over theirs.
I think it's right to remember these people with a long weekend enjoying whatever we want to do. They made it possible. Thanks Veterans!