When Memorial Day comes around, it’s traditional for people to put on patriotism for a day, to speak well of those who sacrificed for our country and made possible our freedom. It’s a shame that it comes around only once a year. For some, patriotism is a constant and every day is Memorial Day.
I love Memorial Day for many reasons. But most of all, it reminds me of the men and women I knew as a boy. They were born in the early 1900s and were a part of what has now become known as “the Greatest Generation.” I’m sure that somebody will get their knickers in a knot when I say it, but those folks back then were made of sterner stuff than many folks today. Every one of them that I knew would die before they’d except a handout from anybody. They worked and they worked hard. They didn’t complain, they didn’t whine and when, as the old saying goes, “life gave them lemons, they made lemonade.” They were strong, steadfast, fiercely independent and loyal to a fault. So, as happens from time to time, their country called and they answered. More than that… they answered with all their hearts and they never looked back.
I see that same spirit in the wounded warriors I see at the range now and then. Many are missing limbs and most carry scars that run deep. Still, they hold themselves with a dignity and strength that I see in few others. I ran across a young man at Shot Show last January whom I will never forget. He stood on two prosthetic legs and was holding something in one prosthetic arm. As I happened upon him he was standing tall and laughing with a buddy by one of the exhibitor’s booths. His spirit was such that it reminded me of the World War II combat veterans I had known decades before.
As I write this on Memorial Day 2015 and get ready to clean a Springfield Armor M1 Rifle I used to shoot a video, my thoughts are with those who have fought bravely and given everything so that I might be free. May God bless them all.
Happy Memorial Day!