This won’t be a typical crisisblogger rant. The Memorial Day holiday means more and more to me as I get older. The celebration of our veterans and their contributions is more meaningful as well in part because we have so many fighting on foreign soil right now. Also because my father, who grew up in Holland during World War II and who has written a book on his wartime experiences (The Way It Was), has been sharing his story with many audiences in the last couple of years. Last year he was the featured speaker at a celebration for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice during WWII at his hometown of Opende in the Netherlands. This year, he will be speaking at our community’s main Memorial Day event at the Moles Greenacres Cemetery, a beautiful place and festooned for the occasion with over a thousand veteran flags.
In his talk he will speak directly to the fewer and fewer veterans of that great conflict and personally thank them for what they did to liberate his homeland. I encouraged him to go into the crowd and shake their hands in gratitude.
This is made even more meaningful to me as I have the rare priviledge of working with a WWII vet, a P-38 fighter pilot who was shot down over France after D-Day and spent two months in Buchenwald before being rescued by the Luftwaffe and sent to POW camp. He was one of 168 Allied flyers to be treated as terrorists by Hitler and scheduled for execution. I am writing his story and it is truly amazing.
Our freedoms have been bought at a price–a very high price. This is a wonderful time to reflect on this wonderful world of opportunity, of enterprise, of personal initiative, of freedom of the press, religion and the pursuit of happiness. Pursue it vigorously this weekend, but keep those who have given these blessings to us in your minds and hearts.