Remebering Memorial Days Gone By

I remember Memorial Day parades when I was a young girl. My father was a World War II veteran and we would often go to the local parade.

When I was in high school, veterans and the military became more and more unpopular. When I was in college, I met my future husband, an NROTC student from UCLA. We married during the summer before our senior years and he was commissioned as soon as he graduated. Both of us endured derisive comments and hateful stares when fellow students learned of his career choice.

When he entered the Navy, being associated with the military continued to be very unpopular. Being a Navy wife often earned more viscious comments and ugly stares the further I ventured from the Navy base.

We spent the last days of the Vietnam war on Guam. We were there when Saigon fell and the refugees were evacuated to the island as it was the staging area for their entry into the US. That was the first time I had ever heard anyone thank US military members for their service.

Last night I was watching the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS. I heard the stories of veterans. I saw them being thanked for their service.

The reaction to the military has certainly changed over the past 40 years. We are constantly reminded to thank our veterans and service members. That is a good thing!

But how many of you have ever thought to thank that Vietnam War veteran? Yes, the war was unpopular, but that is beside the point. Each of those veterans was called by his country to serve. They deserve your thanks--even if you did not like the war.