While I tend to be the laid back fella here, I had to take the time today to write a short little post. It’s Memorial Day in the United States. For anyone unaware, this is the day that Americans usually think of as a three-day weekend for BBQing and generally enjoying an extra day off work. Others recognize it has something to do with the military. It does include these things but on this holiday, I felt the duty to write a bit more about it. We all love The Simpsons but sometimes, real life has to be mentioned too.
A lot of people look at Memorial day and point out to me that I get some nice fancy discounts on things for being a veteran. Others wish me a “Happy Memorial Day” and I get shivers. Happy? Not so much. In the 14 years I spent in boots, I had the privilege to be a medic for the finest human beings I’ll probably ever get the chance to meet. I witnessed bravery, compassion, hilarity, courage and character that will last with me until the day I pass into the next phase of life. Every Memorial Day, I try hard to focus on what it is really about.
Memorial Day is a US federal holiday where we remember those who died while serving in the Armed Forces. A lot of countries have similar holidays. I don’t claim to know all of them but I know the UK has Remembrance Day in November. Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War. It has gone on to include all wars and those who dies while serving the United States. Many people visit cemeteries during this holiday, often placing a US flag on service member’s graves. Additionally, Memorial Day tends to mark the beginning of summer in the US, hence the BBQs, but did you know that this tradition stems from graveside “dinners on the ground” aka potlucks during Memorial Day? Families would gather by their fallen and share each other’s company to honor their dead.
As a vet of the US military, I have to point out that while it is nice to have more time off for extra things, this holiday is actually about the men and women who have given their lives for the freedom of the United States. It’s about understanding that your freedoms came at a price, often to members of your own family and community. For our international readers, while this is an American holiday, it could serve as a reminder of your own military who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Do you know when your country honors its veterans and fallen heroes?
Freedom isn’t free and my service is nothing compared to the heroes that sacrificed for me and mine. This day certainly isn’t about me. It definitely is a day though to remember my Great Uncle Douglas who is still missing from WWII and presumed buried at sea. He followed in the footsteps of my Grandpa (a B-17 pilot) by enlisting and serving as a B-24 gunner in the Pacific. He never returned. I remember clearly finding two Distinguished Flying Crosses in my Gramps’ closet when I was young. My Grandpa found me and sat me down and told me one was his and the others his brother’s who never came home. He went on to let me know the only one that was truly earned was Uncle Doug’s. This coming from a man who piloted 60 combat missions in Europe. A lesson hard to forget.
Bunny and I have talked about the holiday and what it means to us. Memorial Day is a sad one for my dear fuzzy sister, but she shared some thoughts with me I got her permission to share because I found them so moving…
A solemn note from the heart of Bunny,
For me, Memorial Day is difficult. As is Father’s Day. More so due to the many amazing men in my life that have served their country, continue to serve for their country, or have given their lives for their country. It is a day that I visit their markers, let them know they are not forgotten, and thank them for the legacy they have left behind.
I watched my Uncle W, who was injured in WWII, as he struggled later in life just to walk across the room. He never said he was in pain. He never asked for help. He just always kept on pushing, kept on struggling to make every step in his life count. As a young girl I was curious and asked, “Why?” He gave me an answer that sticks with me to this day, “Because I am taking the steps that all those that didn’t come home can’t. I live for them. I walk for those who can’t. I breathe for those who can’t. They are with me, always. When I am at my worst and the pain overwhelms me…I just think of them…and in their death, as they did in their lives, they carry me home.”
I see my cousins coming back from their 3rd, 4th, 5th tours of duty. Shell shocked and changed. But the moment their feet hit the soil of home…the doorsteps they thought they would never see again…the Mother, Father, Siblings and loved ones embraces they thought they could never feel again… that young child inside shines right through. It holds them and shelters them. A glimpse of who they were returns. Though their shoulders are visually heavy with what they experienced and brought back, they need not say a word though. I just know and it makes me so very proud of them.
There are so many stories to share, so many tales to be told of their work and sacrifices…but to this day one stands out to me the most.
My Uncle HR. A young man, barely in his 20’s in a land far far away from home in the Vietnam War. Not quite sure what he got himself into, but as many of my other family members far and wide before him did, he felt it was his duty to serve. He had been gone a little while from home. Missed his Mom and siblings, but kept pushing forward. He had just finished up his duties for the night and was venturing across a bridge to go visit with the rest of his buddies who were on the other side. That was the last anyone ever saw of him.
Time went on and my Gram never stopped speaking of him. A photo of him always in the family room. MIA is what they told her, but she held out hope. She always wondered and worried. Was he alive? Was he OK? Was he getting enough to eat? Never giving up faith that one day he would come home.
Then it happened. Through a network the government uses to identify the fallen, the family DNA had been matched to the remains of one of the soldiers they had recovered through investigations. They had found my Uncle. He was finally coming home. My Grams cried as I never heard her cry before. Happiness, sadness, just so many emotions all at once.
So many Men, Women, and Veterans showed up to the final farewell at the cemetery. Dressed in their uniforms. Proudly displaying their medals. Flags lined the streets everywhere on the way there. News, media, so many had come out to see. So many had come to pay their respects. Even with the multitude there, a solemn silence lingered all around. A show of respect for a fallen brother. A simple young boy. He had served his country. He was lost and so far away from home. But now…he was finally home.
On this Memorial Day my thoughts, heart, and prayers go out to all those brave Men and Women still out there away from home. To those that came home carrying the ones left behind with them. And especially for those that gave their lives to give us our freedoms…Someone is always carrying you too, whether it be in their mind or heart, you will never be forgotten.
Serious heartfelt stuff and much love to Bunny for sharing.
Note from Alissa: Wow, there’s not much more I can add to the amazing words and stories from Bunny and Wookiee so I’m not even going to try. I’m simply going to say thank you. Thank you to all who have served, all who continue to serve & all who have lost their lives defending their country.
By all means enjoy the day, but please take the time to remember why you get to enjoy the extra time in the first place. I could go on and on about some of the heroes I had the privilege to serve with but will let these words stand. I know it’s pretty serious stuff but this holiday is important to me and deserves the attention. If there is someone special you’d like to honor in the comments, please share. For all our readers who have served, I do truly thank you and know you’re picking up what I’m putting down. Hope today is a great one for all but it’s our duty to remember while we enjoy it.
God Bless and TTFN… Wookiee out!
The was a very sincere look at Memorial Day. The comments are also appreciated and very heart felt.
We are a family of vererans. My husband has been retired from the Navy since July 1993 as a Navy Electrician and served in Desert Storm, now suffering with PTSD and other health issues. I was a Navy Hospital Corpsman and when I finished my hitch I went on to be a Fire / EMS volunteer while I followed him around the country. When we were over seas the REd Cross hired me to teach First Aid and CPR to the service men and families.
I have a son who served in the COast Guard and one currently a Capt. in the FL National Guard.
My dad was a marine and my uncle was in the Air Force. My husband also has veteran family members.
So to close I would like send all my thoughts and prayers to those who have lost family members, and thank all those who have served and are still serving this fine country. Have a safe Memorial Day weekend.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for your service brother. This holiday hits close to home because I lost friends when I was in Afghanistan so I know the true meaning of Memorial Day. They may be gone but never forgotten 🇺🇸🙏🏽
Thank you julia, you amaze me. I always wished I went down your path
Thank you for your heartfelt words & Wookiee thank you for your service. As a medic I can not imagine the horrors that you saw. I may be out of line here but since I am one who says “Happy Memorial Day” I feel the need to say please know today’s meaning & importance is not lost simply because we use that phrase. I grew up with today being a celebration of life & country. We celebrate our heros, especially those who did not make it home. We honor the greatest gifts they gave us… Our freedoms. And we do so in a big loud happy BBQ with kids running around & too much food because we don’t have to live in fear. So please know that when I say “Happy Memorial Day” what it really means is “Happy Hero’s Day” as I silently remember the stories of torture, rape, & desperation that those Brave souls saved my children from witnessing.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Robert Laurence Binyon
I must confess that I do love a good barbeque…and I am very glad my ship surfaced the same number of times that it submerged…I am very glad not to have died…I am very glad to have made so many friends here…that’s all I can say…
Thank you for your thoughtful insight into Memorial Day. In Scotland, and the UK as a whole, we remember all those who gave their lives or were injured in the defence of our freedom on November 11th – Armistice Day – with 2 minutes silence at 11am no matter where you are. We wear poppies to raise funds for injured servicemen and women. On the Sunday closest to Armistice Day we have Remembrance services and people from all generations and walks of life lay poppy wreaths on town war memorials. Every town and village in Scotland has a First World War Memorial which has sadly been updated after each subsequent war. I’ve told the pupils in my school about Memorial Day and we incorporated 2 mins silence into our day.
I am impressed by reading all this, I never had a personal experience like this – and am thankful for it! There is a “Volkstrauertag”, on the Sunday two weeks before the first advent sunday, but luckily there haven’t been many losses in almost 70 years, and most people forgot it even exists. Since WWII, Germany wasn’t part of any war, and even both my grandpas were exempt from that, because they were farmers. My pa was just a kid, and living in a rural area, they didn’t see much of the war until it was over. My mom, who was 8 at the time, only remembers the nice English soldiers giving her chocolate… For years after that, there was no army, til about 1955 I think, and then they were only doing humanitarian missions, helping after earthquakes or some such. Only after the reunification, since the early 90s, they were also send out to “peacekeeping” missions, into more dangerous territory. In the 25 years since then, about a 100 soldiers died during those missions. And even though even one is one to many, I am fortunate enough to never have lost anyone I know and care about like that. All the deaths in my family so far were of old age; it still hurts, but I imagine it is easier to come to grips with.
So, since I don’t have anyone special to remember, I will still bow my head in silence for all fallen soldiers everywhere.
wow, is really all i can say. i spent a good part of my day today tending my g.fathers headstone a Navy gunner during wwII. Because of my own health issues i was never able to follow in my grand father nor my fathers footsteps..but i understand the cost involved, and what it means..i cried after reading this, because it touched me so deep…god bless u all, and thank you all for never forgetting the meaning of this day
My Maternal Grampa was a glider pilot in WWII and although he survived his service, he lost his battle with PTSD not long after, when I was only 3. I’m grateful he got to enjoy his first Grandchild and that I have some vague memories of him.
My Uncle was an interrogator in Vietnam and was forever scarred by his experiences. My Paternal Grampa and FIL also served in WWII and thankfully came through unscathed in most aspects.
My thoughts, thanks and remembrances go out to all of those who have given their lives, energy, strength, courage and body to allow all of us to live in the free country that we do, and to aid those that do not enjoy those same freedoms.
Wookie and Bunny, such beautiful and touching thoughts, still tearing up. Thank you, just…thank you!
Thank you for sharing. Much respect to your family.
I come to this site for many reasons. For the most remarkably knowledgeable and dedicated team who operate it. For the pages and pages of insightful and helpful game information. For the wonderfully witty, sweet and generous readers that I’m so honored to now call friends. But, for all those worthy reasons to visit such a “gamers” site, one reason stands about all others……HEART!
I was soooo moved by the eloquent and poignant words posted today by the Staff and readers…..that you have moistened this “silly” man’s eyes and have warmed his heart.
THANK YOU to the BRAVE and DEDICATED men and women who have served and are currently serving this country!
And THANK YOU to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, so that WE might live a FREE and wonderful life!
Thank you sweetie, (not Silly this time), you put it so well. I have also come to feel like we have all become more than just names on a page. We genuinely care about each other. I feel like we are more “family” than many people call family. Alissa, Bunny, & Wookiee have made that all possible, and the heart you spoke of, it all started with them. If I could meet any one of you in person, I would run up & give you great big hugs just like I’d known you forever.
((((((((all my brothers & sisters here)))))))))
Yes. Because of you, Bunny, Alissa and Wookie I have acquired valuable friendships. People who, joining with you have brought support, laughs, answers to dozens and dozens of players. In a world where if sometimes feeling adrift and alone it is such a comfort to realize the all I have to do is ask and I’m not alone anymore. Love you all.
Missterry,,,(D) are you talking about me? If you are, I feel the same about everyone here 🙂 Thank you! I love to make people laugh, life’s too short to be sad. I give every ounce of credit to our “leaders”. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to have the fun I do. (sometimes I wonder how they put up with me LOL). I want to keep a smile on everyone’s face until the day I die, then I will have lived a life worth living 🙂
Absolutely about you. And Silly. And Freaky. And Kitty. And all you banterers. All this is much fun to follow…On the serious side, someone e-mailed me a huuuge American flag in flowers (larkspur) 740×390′ covering 665 acres. I think it was planted near Vandenberg AFB. An amazing Memorial Day tribute. Tried to copy it and all that came out was text. I hope one of you is fortunate to have received it as well. It was created by seed companies. 🙂 I don’t have a neighboreeno’s e-address so cannot forward it.
Well, my dear, you are part of it all now 🙂
Forward the pic to Addicts, they’ll post it for all of us to see I hope 🙂
I did this: ‘TSTOAddictsblog@gmail.com’
Is that correct?
I appreciate your appreciation and I feel likewise. I have a grandson who served and recently returned from Aph, unharmed physically. So heartfelt thanks to all who couldn’t return or were damaged by their experiences. I cannot say I understand your strife, can only wish the best for you and God Bless.
Cyber, I’m missing you and Dar. More than I can say. 🙂
I am new to your app and have been reading….and reading…and reading trying to catch up and learn as much as possible. Thank you for what you do!
However, the actual reason for this comment is to say Thank You for taking the time to write about Memorial Day and what it means to our Country, our families, and to you personally. Your words, and those from your sister and Alissa, were very moving…in many ways. Although I have never served myself, I come from a long line of servicemen and women and this is both a proud and sad day for my family. A number of my elders, as well as cousin 3 years ago, made the ultimate sacrifice for our Country and I am so very proud to have their blood running through my veins.
I’d also like you to know that during our family gathering today, I actually took a moment to read your article aloud, and it was much appreciated by all. They were all very impressed that you took the time to write this…especially when I told them this blog is technically dedicated to a game.
So again, Thank You (and Bunny and Alissa too!) for expressing the true meaning of this very special holiday. And an even bigger THANK YOU for your service!!!
Thank YOU for taking time from your family to reach out to us. I have many that have passed that have served. Wookiee, my “brother from another mother” (no relation) and good friend, makes me very proud. All our service persons do. Far and wide.
Wookiee inspired me to open up when I saw his POW/MIA tat. I appreciate that sentiment so much. Someone is always carrying a piece of our fallen with them. We may never even know. A pocket watch, a coin, a dog tag, a note. There is always a piece of them somewhere in the world and to me…that is beautiful.
A simple thank you. I posted late April on our equivalent to Memorial Day, being ANZAC Day, where Australia and New Zealand remember our Service men and women. The date marks the landing at Gallipoli during WW1 where many of our brave young men lost their lives. It is also a memorial for all the other conflicts and marked by Dawn Services being held across the country. It is something special to attending Canberra at the National War Memorial and to hear the last post sound as the sun breaks over the horizon.
Thought to you and yours. Lest we Forget
Wow, the Memorial is beautiful. And yes, Lest we forget. Thank you for sharing this, sometimes we forget we are not the only country to have lost our brave men and women.
Very amazing and beautiful. Thanks for sharing again with us.
What a fantastic post. So touching to hear how much Memorial Day means to you.
My father has his grandfather’s medals earned in both world wars. Sadly my great grandfather was killed in World War 2 and didn’t get to see the last of his medals as it was awarded posthumously.
I was a Girl Guide as a child and nothing gave me greater pride than to march in my town’s annual Remembrance Day parade with my fellow Guides, Scouts, the Royal British Legion and the Armed Forces. As an adult Guide Leader now, I’m doing my very best to ensure my own Guides take that same pride and passion that I have. No one should ever forget the sacrifices made by so many.
Thank you all for sharing your moving stories and thoughts on this Memorial Day. And thank you to everyone who has served our country.
Thanks for giving us such a great piece to read! Really puts life into perspective for those of us who don’t serve.
A real tearjerker. I was fortunate enough not to have lost anyone but I do have vets in my family, including my dad. Thank you to all for your service.
As a USN vet, I thank all who have given their all for us and our freedom!! Very touching stories from the heart! I thank you all for sharing! To those who have given their lives for us, I THANK YOU AND YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN! I salute you! To my father, Thank you for your service! I am proud to be your son! Thank you to ALL our military for your service! May God bless and protect those who are away from home and their families! We miss and love each and everyone of you!
Such a well written post. Ty
Great bit of writing from you all!I come from a long line of military veterans,I my self being a career Marine with 5 combat tours,so this article really hits home with me,this is the day to honor all our brothers and sisters in uniform,and especially the ones that paid the ultimate price,and never came back home.Thanks again!
Thank you for your part in remembering.
One of the best Memorial Day posts Ive ever read anywhere. Cheers and hats off to those we have lost. I remember.
Well said, Brother…
And I cry…
Thank you. All of your words brought tears to my eyes. I have too many uncles, alive & passed, along with other family members to list here. I also honor all current and retired servicemen & women on this day, not just on Veteran’s Day. My heart goes out to all who suffer from PTSD from their service, it is hard for some people to realize it is a true disability. Thank you once again, and God bless us all.
Very nicely put. Thank you.
As a disabled veteran who spends a good deal of time at VA hospitals I see the toll service has taken on our vets. All the things that hit the news lately about the VA hospitals is not news to any of us disabled vets. We gave our time, our minds, our bodies, but we did not give our very lives. Please take time today to remember those that gave all so that we may enjoy the sunshine and freedom.
No, thank YOU!
Excellent piece. This Navy Vet ( Combat Camera Group ) salutes and thanks you.