Monday, May 30, 2011

remembering the fallen line

Today is Memorial Day.

Not here in Mexico.  But in The States.  The day we celebrate those who have died in the service of our country.

Forty years ago I was on a parade ground in San Antonio as a cadet officer.  Being tested by the heat in a way my patriotism has never been tested.

As the color guard raised the Stars and Stripes on that weekend in late May, I thought about the generations of warriors who died to protect and expand a fledgling republic, who preserved its union, who subdued totalitarian regimes that made Ivan the Terrible look like a choir boy.

And what my place would be.  Whether I was prepared to make the great sacrifice.

As it turned out, I was never called to do that.  But I was about to join the military of one of the two great powers caught in an almost-Manichean struggle that would eventually complete what had been left unresolved in World War Two.  That liberty would trump tyranny.

In the process, I would lose friends and acquaintances on four continents – all fighting the good fight for the country we loved.

I am proud that I served my country.  And I still have that same pride today.

But Memorial Day is not about those of us who served our country and survived.  It is about those who served and died.

Veterans’ Day is for all of us.  But that comes later in the year.  Today – Memorial Day – is reserved for that special group.

And it is those who showed the greatest love of all who I salute.

Job well done.  Without you, we would not be who we are today.


M Cotton said...

Well said,son.

Felipe Zapata said...

Quite true.

Marie-wolff said...

Steve, your writing always hits the mark.  Beautiful tribute to our military who made the supreme sacrifice.

Nita said...

Thank you for your service. I do feel that all service people in whatever war should be thanked. They all did their job and that's why we can celebrate every day. WE HAVE FREEDOM!

Steve Cotton said...

Thanks, Mom.

Steve Cotton said...

I like the "every day" answer.  It is the danger of special days.  We forget that all of our days are special.

Steve Cotton said...

Thanks, Marie.  But my words are trifles compared with their sacrifices.

Steve Cotton said...

It is nice to write true -- now and then.