This weekend the Memorial Day Parades are led by the last of the World War Two veterans, our parents’ generation, along with the Vietnam vets, the husbands and brothers of our own generation. Now joining the march are veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, many our children’s generation.
One difference between present and past wars is that with a volunteer military many Americans now have little personal contact with the enlisted men and women. In World War II and Vietnam, most families knew a soldier among their family and friends. That’s not so common now.
We salute all these soldiers and Marines for their service and bravery. We also honor their parents. It is excruciatingly difficult to send a son or daughter off to a war zone, helping them to honor their commitment. All one can do is hope and pray every day for a safe return. On Memorial Day we honor those who did not come home.
We particularly remember three young men who were killed in Iraq. The three are alumni of my sons’ alma mater Chaminade High School: James Regan, Michael LiCalzi and Ronald Winchester.
A moving piece, “On Memorial Day, Remember the Mothers, Children, Wives and Lovers Too,” recalls the stories of several young men and those they left behind including the fiancé of James Regan. Politics Daily writer Donna Trussell notes:
And for every soldier, there is at least one grieving mother, friend, sister, lover or wife on the home front who will do what Mary McHugh said in the eulogy for James Regan: “I will wake up every morning for the rest of my life and thank God for the opportunity to have loved and been loved by you.”
So this Memorial Day, let us remember the soldiers lost in wars past and present, and those who live with that loss every day.