As the nation reflects on those who’ve died fighting for the nation, veterans remember their comerades, while expressing thankfulness for the appreciation of their fellow Americans. They also reflect on the ways in which the nation commemorates the dead, from block parties, to writing Congress in support of improved Veterans Affairs programs.
Excerpts from a letter to the editor of the Catonsville Patch, written by veteran Pat Young of Catonsville, Md.
Whether it has been 70 years or 1 year, it is a loss shared by generations of families and members of the military that has once again become all too familiar in our national consciousness.
My time spent in the Marine Corps yielded plenty of inexorable memories of those taken before their time and yet I have no animosity toward those who would celebrate Memorial Day with all the joy that our country affords us. In truth, I wish I could.
Memorial Day is set aside in honor of those who gave their lives in service but we should celebrate their memory with as much spirit and vigor as those we have lost had in life. I see BBQ’s, block parties, and family get-togethers as the greatest tribute to them.
Excerpts from a message on the Memorial Day Facebook page.
Every day that I wake up and get into my wheelchair and see my half-paralyzed body is a reminder of the honor of serving this country. I’d do it again, even if the outcome was the same.
I may not agree with how things are going, that’s part of why I’m proud to have served, I have the right not to agree. And the freedom not to agree. Not to mention speak out on the … poor treatment of those who served.
I implore all of you, take a moment to not only remember us for what we paid for, but to write your Congressmen and tell them to honor the promises made to vets and fix the broken VA [Veteran Affairs] system we have to deal with. I did.
Don’t do it just for me, but for all our men and women that deserve more than just a ‘thank you.’ Those are great, but five minutes to write a letter or letters is even better.
Richard Arvine Overton
Exerpts from an interview conducted by Fox News with Richard Arvine Overton, believed to be the nation’s oldest veteran. Overton, 107, fought in WWII. He told Fox he plans to stay in his home in East Austin, Texas, with a a cigar and whiskey-spiked coffee to celebrate the holiday.
I don’t know, some people might do something for me, but I’ll be glad just to sit down and rest … I’m no young man no more.
I was really honored when I got there [Overton’s first trip to Washington, D.C., on May 9, 2013, to visit the WWII memorial]. … There were so many people, it was up in the thousands. And we danced and we jumped … them people tickled me to death. It made me happy as can be.
I know I had someone from my platoon until recently, but he passed so now I don’t have anyone that I know. … So I feel lonesome by myself sometimes. I would love to ask some of them some questions, but nobody is here. Everybody’s passed.