By Rick Miranda, The Daily Bosco
not particularly fond of holidays.
Before you start throwing stones
and calling me a nihilist I should qualify that. I don’t hate them...I
just don’t find them particularly celebratory. An annual remembrance of
some event or notion that is usually overshadowed by the celebration
itself. It’s usually a reason to drag family and friends together for
mirth and merriment but with the exception of a few religious holidays
little time is actually spent in consideration of the actual reason for a
day off with pay. An unfortunate by-product of the Monday Holiday
But Memorial Day 2011 was a bit different for me.
While many of the
same rites and rituals were repeated across this great country of ours
and many a family, including my own, hauled out the briquettes and
lighter fluid, feasted on red meat and potato salad and listened to the
latest family gossip, one extra detail set this holiday weekend aside;
at least for me.
Some fifteen years ago my father passed from
this world. Every year I mean to visit his grave, and like so many good
intentions, time and circumstances seem to get in the way. None the
less I do try to make it there when I can and since the anniversary of
his death coincides with Memorial Day, I find those visits that I do
make to be that much more emotional.
Like so many of his age, my
dad spent his time in military service. For his time in uniform he was
afforded the privilege of burial among his fellow servicemen in a
special section of the cemetery. It moves me to visit this place of
honor on a weekend such as this. Each grave adorned with a flag, some
with flowers, a cross or the Magen David, it fills me with a sense of
gratitude and pride that there is a collective recognition for the
service that my father gave along with all these men and women.
buried here didn’t die in service to their country. They went on to
live typical, some would say mundane, lives. To marry, work, pay taxes,
raise children. To perpetuate and enjoy the society to which they had
expressed their devotion through the military. Mundane, pedestrian,
mediocre, perhaps to those who take it for granted, but so very precious
to those who realize how blessed a life it truly is.
have been heroes and some may have been clerks. For every warrior on
the line there are ten behind helping to get the job done. Each
performed their duties and no one of us afforded the pleasure of freedom
can or should judge the depth or quality of their individual efforts.
We leave that to our Creator and those that served with them. Whether
draftee, volunteer, officer or enlisted these people gave a part of
their lives to ensure our well being, that of our country and to a great
extent that of the world.
While most were driven by a sense of
duty I know not everyone serves for the same reason. I’m sure there are
those here that joined for the benefits, financial help with college or
simply had nowhere else to go at the time. To be sure some went
unwillingly. But it’s their duty that we’re to remember, not their
motivation. How many of us have done the greatest things in our lives
for the noblest of reasons?
Since my father so loved his time in
the service, I feel fortunate, grateful actually, that the occasion of
his death coincided with this most appropriate day of national
remembrance. It reminds me of his best qualities, qualities valued in
any soldier, duty, reverence, integrity. And it reminds me of his hopes
to not only instill those qualities within myself but that I pass that
paternal obligation on to my sons as well.
In that respect, I
can only hope to fulfill that obligation to him, to myself and to my
children. So to all those that lay in this field of honor, all those
that have served and to this, my first, best hero, I offer my gratitude