Letters: Memorial Day stirs emotions
Memorial Day stirs emotions Memorial Day is not a significant holiday in the eyes of many Americans. Of those who pay scant attention to this day, many have not been touched by war, directly or indirectly. Consequently, no judgment is necessary, ...
Memorial Day is not a significant holiday in the eyes of many Americans. Of those who pay scant attention to this day, many have not been touched by war, directly or indirectly. Consequently, no judgment is necessary, no criticism is justified if they do not get caught up in Memorial Day observances.
In sharp contrast, countless millions of Americans are deeply moved by Memorial Day. Powerful emotions well up as memory takes them back to past personal war experiences.
For them, the first sight of a somber marching color guard, the sharp synchronized shots of a firing squad and the deeply moving sound of "Taps" stir their hearts.
The rush of emotions is both depressing and uplifting. Memories of lost loved ones mix with a deep sense of pride in one's country. Always the spirit of faith and confidence prevail during the ceremonies. And it is right that the nation should take time each year to pay respect to those who died serving their country in times of war. The Iraq war makes our tribute special this year.
Each death represents a profound personal tragedy touching families and friends. Among those I remember are a cousin killed in the island invasion of Iwo Jima; a boyhood friend who went from second grade to fighter pilot in a few short years, shot down over Italy; a high school classmate lost at sea while serving in the Merchant Marines; and an infantry army buddy riding shotgun on the top of a tank, killed by sniper fire in the closing days of the war in Europe.
Because my outfit was directly involved in the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, I know well the price of freedom.
For these reasons, I stand with those who celebrate Memorial Day. We need to respect these very ordinary people who made such an extraordinary sacrifice.
If we keep them in our hearts during the quiet ceremonies in our community cemeteries, we will have retained a true sense of the magnitude of the human history we are saluting.
Park Rapids Class of 1944