I asked my son why we celebrate Memorial Day. He looked at me with a huge question on his face. So, I decided to tell him that it’s a day to honor and remember the men and women who sacrificed themselves everyday for our freedom. Some of them died and never got the chance to see their families again. He looked at me with a sad expression on his face.
For some reason, the image of my grandfather’s face keeps popping up in my brain. I didn’t know what it means . I decided to explore what it was. I never got to meet him. I only heard stories from relatives of who he was.
I always wondered who was the man behind the picture that my grandmother used to display during special family occasions. I was told that he was a U.S. war veteran pilot of WW II who fought with the American soldiers during the Japanese occupation in the Philippines. My dad really don’t talk much about him. He was less than 10 years old when his dad died . Either he was too young to remember or he blocked the memory from his subconscious because it was painful and traumatic for him. I just can’t imagine what’s it like to lose a dad that you considered as your hero , someone who embodies a man you want to become when you grow up. My grandma did not elaborate much about him either. She was a grieving widow and perhaps it hurts to tell detailed stories about him. But every year I would see her offer flowers, candles and prayers for him. I just wish she would have told us more about him. I did ask from relatives what he was like and they all told me that he was a great father to his 4 children and a loving husband to his wife. But what struck me the most is that, he was a hero and a patriot. He would offer his life for his nation and his countrymen in a heart beat . And to his last breath, he just did that. He was the pilot of the plane carrying several passengers when the engine suddenly malfunctioned. He had to do an emergency landing but the landing strip was too narrow. He chose to save the passengers and in the process the pilot side crashed head on. He died instantly. My dad and his siblings lost a father that day.
Today, I chose to remember people like my grandfather who gave their lives preserving democracy. I chose to remember the men and women who had to leave their sons, daughters, or their spouses so that we can all sleep soundly at night. Consumerism has clouded this day with sales and all but again, I chose to honor this day and just stayed at home with my family. My wife cooked some delicious BBQ in our backyard while me and my son played water games which was a lot of fun , not to mention refreshingly cool against the Texan Summer heat.
Just before dinner, my son was getting bored. I gave him some blank papers and told him to draw something for me. It’s a great way to keep him preoccupied while me and my wife finish the rest of the food preparation. After about 30 minutes or so, he showed me his work. I kind of had an idea what it was but I just had to ask him . He told me that it’s a group of army soldiers headed by captain Cody surrounding a building. He said, ” the army soldiers are the good guys protecting the building from the bad guys.” My son’s all time favorite acting out game is playing an army soldier. I guess it runs in the family although it definitely skipped on me and my dad. He’s too young to know the realities of war and of what it’s like being a defender of this great nation. His a kid and I would like him to go where his dreams and imagination takes him. As a parent, I have my fears about the army as a career for my son but I can not use that as an excuse to stop him from deciding what he wants to do with his life when he gets older. I’m here to guide him and support his plans in the future but in the end he has to follow the path destiny has paved for him. He has to listen to what his heart tells him.Whatever it is I hope to walk with him in his quest for happiness and finding his ultimate goal in life.
To all our soldiers out there I pray for your safety. May God keep you protected and your family. May one day, you all get to go home and reunite with your love ones. I thank you for the sacrifices you have to make and the risks you have to take every single day so all of us can enjoy the sweet taste of freedom , peace and equality.
- “A Day to Remember ~ Arlington National Cemetery” and related posts (happywonderer.wordpress.com)
- Memorial Day, 2011 (djsilverfox.wordpress.com)