Memorial Day

Memorial Day when I was growing up was the 30th of May. In fact, it didn’t become a floating to Monday holiday until 1972 which explains my memories of parades and cemetery services being on various days of the week.

I had no family who served in the US military in WWI – either too young an immigrant or too old when the war started. In WWII, my father served but wasn’t let out of CONUS due to age and perhaps attitude. He served as a combat photographer for the 10th Mountain Division. Something that I verified when I was stationed at Ft Drum as his scribble was tucked into the corner of a few of the training photos from the Colorado Mountains prior to the division beings shipped to the Italian front.

I spent Viet Nam in University and Med School, the first Gulf War first in Eckenbach for Golden Python and then later at Ft Drum. After that I managed to get through 6 months plus multiple trips to the Balkans, 15 months in Kuwait & Iraq and 7 months in Afghanistan without getting myself killed. In fact, I don’t think I have any US family members who have died in military service. For that matter, I don’t think I have had any family members other than my father who have ever served. Military service was traditionally for men – lots of small families with daughters only, and it made for a really, really good reason to leave Czarist Russia. 25 years conscription was not a good thing for anyone and did only rarely return anyone to home.

For me it is a good day to stay home. I can recognize the sacrifice of others without going somewhere, doing something. It is not like living in Europe where visiting the WWI and WWII cemeteries made sense. I can recognize the sacrifice of self, family and country.

And I don’t have to be bombarded by all those commercial enterprises which disgracefully dishonor the sacrifice of so many in countries service by turning the holiday which was traditionally one of respect into just another sales opportunity.

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About Holly

fiber person - knitter, spinner, weaver who spent 33 years being a military officer to fund the above. And home. And family. Sewing and quilting projects are also in the stash. After living again in Heidelberg after retiring (finally) from the U.S. Army May 2011, we moved to the US ~ Dec 2015. Something about being over 65 and access to health care. It also might have had to do with finding a buyer for our house. Allegedly this will provide me a home base in the same country as our four adult children, all of whom I adore, so that I can drive them totally insane. Considerations of time to knit down the stash…(right, and if you believe that…) and spin and .... There is now actually enough time to do a bit of consulting, editing. Even more amazing - we have only one household again. As long as everyone understands that I still, 40 years into our marriage, don't do kitchens or bathrooms. For that matter, not being a golden retriever, I don't do slippers or newspapers either. I don’t miss either the military or full-time clinical practice. Limiting my public health/travel med/consulting and lecturing to “when I feel like it” has let me happily spend my pension cruising, stash enhancing (oops), arguing with the DH about where we are going to travel next and book buying. Life is good!
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