Each year of life, I find Memorial Day more solemn, more important. As we age, we gain more respect for the fleeting nature of life and the profound sacrifice that has been made on our behalf by young men and women through the history of our country. There is nothing in my life that I have that they did not secure for me.
This year is the first Memorial Day since the passing of two of our friends - SGT Eddie Jeffers and SGT James Craig. Today, my heart aches as it did on the days we learned of their deaths. I think of their families and the rest of their friends. I think of how much they enriched our lives, as well as the lives of people they never knew. I hope you will visit their stories and be thankful that such men lived.
On Memorial Day, I think back to the Memorial Days of my youth. I spent them with my family and we would go to the National Cemetery of the Pacific - Punchbowl. We would walk by the graves, we would go into the ten gardens of the missing. Most important, we would read their names. We would enter the chapel and offer prayers for the fallen. "Lift up their names," Puna used to say, "lift them to God, lift them into your memory."
I have always been disturbed by the phrase "Happy Memorial Day" - I guess because it is such a solemn day of importance. It was never a 'holiday' in my family. It was a day of remembrance.
So, today I remember. I hope that you will too.