Every year, when Memorial Day comes around, thoughts come from the days of past. While I’m glad to see my family every evening, I miss the brotherhood that has an indescribable bond. While I enjoy the warm meals and cool evenings, I miss the pride in dealing with neither knowing it was for a greater cause. While I still – to this day – enjoy putting my arm out of the window while driving the 65 and 44, my heart still aches for the families whose loved one will never do so again; the soldier who will never hold his child again, and in some cases for the first time; the Marine who will never hold his wife’s hand again; the Sailor who will never say “I love you” to his parents one more time; the Airman who will never see the snow fall or the sun rise one last time.
While we enjoy our BBQ, family time, and time away from work on this long weekend, may we also remember the purpose of this day.
The following is a writing that is authored by me, and written during my last days in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2005.
God Bless you, God Bless our service men and women, and God Bless this great nation.
"For those who fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
From the Lexington Green to Fallujah,
Patriots have stood by one another,
In defense of our nations liberty,
Fighting with each man as a brother.
Now it is my turn to go,
And to stand for what I believe,
I will do my part to defend my nation,
And won't quit my post until properly relieved.
The sand makes the sun a little more bright,
And beads of sweat roll down my face,
It is my first time outside of "the wire",
This feeling I will forever embrace.
Time has passed, missions have gone,
Repetitive motion has taught me to stay calm;
Thoughts often revert to the wife and kids,
And also to the 91st Psalm.
But I have to remain ready,
For when it happens, it happens fast;
And there is nothing I want less,
Than for any of us to become a memory of the past.
Now time is getting short,
Though my posture remains erect,
And looking back on time,
I begin to reflect.
I have received the command "Lock and Load",
A total of 94 times,
I wouldn't choose to do it again for a million dollars,
But wouldn't trade the memory for that 10 times.
I've witnessed the wounded and carried the dead,
Helpless on the stretchers they straddle,
I've been close enough to being one myself,
To make my ears ring and my brain rattle.
In time I will look to these days,
A time when I kept my honor clean;
It will always make me stand taller,
Not only because I'm an American, but a United States Marine.