Spring is in full force these days. The flowering trees are winding down their color displays, the grass is needing cut regularly and the temperatures are starting to even out. The nights are still cool but the days are warming up to air conditioner weather. Today is a very special day for me. Not because it is Memorial Day, not because I have a day off work, not because it is a “me” day – but because I finally have come into what Memorial Day really is all about and how it affects my life.
I came up in the 1970’s, the Jane Fonda, draft desertion, post Woodstock days. I was a very impressionable teenager. My mother would attest to this. Many a night we sat on the front porch or in the family room while she droned on and on about why my thinking was skewed or just plain wrong to her thinking. This time only made me look deeper into myself and thinking. She had no clue and I made her think that she was getting through to me. (Except of course when I needed to push those buttons to make her respond – even if it was only to be mad at me.) The brain of a teenager is so impressionable and malleable.
So, as I now live in a 57 year old body, with 57 years of learning first hand and 57 years of life’s experience under my belt, I can honestly say that I now feel what Memorial Day is all about. Knowledge is one thing. Incorporating that knowledge into my life via emotions has made me realize the true meaning of today.
I have seen many images regarding Memorial Day all over the internet and social media. The above photo spoke to me in a way that the rest I saw did not. It was originally posted on the Precious Moments web site.
I spoke earlier on how precious the Memorial Day service at my church, Lewis Avenue Baptist Church in Temperance, Michigan, has become to me. This photo melds both areas of my life into one. I believe God is in “it”, what ever “it” is. Soldier’s deaths, Soldier’s sufferings, Soldier’s loss of their friends, and the recurrent memories that the Soldier’s have, are all included.
The Viet Nam War (did Congress ever admit that it was more than a conflict yet?) had a nasty connotation to it. The soldiers were treated awful with their return to the country they suffered physically and endured losses for. This is the time frame that i spent the middle to latter part of my teenage years in.
Many a night, I sat up with friends and acquaintances just talking. Those Soldiers would start to express themselves, purging or viewing their war events in a different light, all that they had been through – to a point. None of them would open up past that invisible line. It was like they felt free to discuss what they experienced up to a point, but not past that point. None of them could tell me why. Why they shut down, closed up, refused to talk any more, or why they changed the subject.
Given my experiences, pain is a huge deterrent. So was it too painful for those Viet Nam War Soldiers to talk any more past their invisible line? Was it so horrific that talking about the (unknown to me) topic was agonizing for them? Were they directed by superiors to do that which they could not accept within themselves? I probably will never know.
This made such an impression on me. I have boxed it up and put it away. Forever hidden – and yet not hidden, as it rears it’s ugly head every now and then. I have friends now whose husbands are US Military Servicemen. My heart has re-awakened all those questions of years past. I pray for all of my friends and their children, especially when I hear that their husbands are being deployed – yet again.
So, my message today is not original. I did not “coin” it. I did not create it. However, I can finally say it from the bottom of my heart.
GOD BLESS THE SOLDIERS OF THE USA!!