Memorial Day 2021

There was a pull to stay home, to address the pile of dishes, the messy yard, the mound of laundry; how wonderful to have an extra day off of work to get these things done; and besides…it may rain. Then, I heard: you can stand in the rain for an hour to honor our fallen military, who endured horrors to secure our freedom. I realized I could not let Memorial Day go by without some show of respect and gratitude for those who fought for my freedom; I pulled on my American flag tee-shirt, and my navy blue shorts, and off I went to the Memorial Day service at the Liberty Bell Museum in Melbourne, Florida.

The featured speaker was Brevard county’s exceptional sheriff, Wayne Ivey. Sheriff Ivey spoke in a strong honored tone, as he reminded attendees that the freedoms we enjoy today, were paid for by those who served and lost their lives in the fight to keep America free. Melbourne’s honorable mayor, Paul Alfrey, also spoke. Mayor Alfrey shared how somber Memorial day always is for him, not only because of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms, but also because his father, a combat veteran, died on Memorial Day; he suffered from exposure to agent orange.

Both Ivey and Alfrey expressed their gratitude for the citizens of Brevard county and Melbourne, in how they proudly honor America’s veterans. Brevard’s sheriff and Melbourne’s mayor each stated that they were proud to see so many people make the effort to attend the Memorial Day ceremony.

It’s easy to do nothing, it’s easy to simply stay home, but I’m glad I rallied, and attended the ceremony. If I hadn’t, I would never have met the 96 year old veteran of Iwo-Jima. I listened to his strong clear voice, as he shared how he and other Marines could not move across the Iwo-Jima beach because piles of dead and dying bodies made it impossible to move.

“There were arms and legs everywhere”.

He was 18 years old that day.

What an honor it was to meet this gentleman.

My own present family is not a military family, although my ancestor, Private Camp, served in the Connecticut militia during the American Revolution, and I have ancestors who fought in the Civil War; there was a great uncle in the Royal Canadian military who lost his life on the battlefield during WW1, and I had an uncle who was a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

I do have a brother who presently serves with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, yes, he has one of those red uniforms, and yes, it’s really cool!

My father, who was of age during WW11, at the urging of my grandmother, did not serve; although he desperately wanted to. Both of my father’s siblings had died in childhood, my father’s father died when my father was 15 years old, and my grandmother could not bear the thought of losing her only remaining child. It was with a heavy heart that my father promised not to sign up for the fight against Hitler’s tyranny. My mother shared with me how much this pained my father for the rest of his life.

I am proud to be a patriot, I am proud to honor those who fought for our freedoms; my ex-husband’s father fought in WW11, Korea, and Vietnam, his nephew serves today, in the Air Force.

It didn’t rain on our Memorial Day service, here in Melbourne, Florida, but I would gladly stand in rain or scorching sun to honor those who fought for our freedoms; it’s the least I can do to say thank you.

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