This past Monday was Memorial Day—a federal holiday in the United States designed for remembering and honoring those who have died in the service of our country.
Memorial Day weekend was always an important time of remembrance for my father, who served in the U.S. Navy. During World War II he led a group of twelve Landing Craft Infantry ships (LCI) in an assault on the Marshall Islands. The LCI’s job was to protect the Marines and the Frogmen (now Seals) during major battles. Tragically, 70 percent of my father’s men were killed or wounded during the assault.
My father retired as a Navy Admiral. He and my mother are buried side by side in Washington, D.C. at Arlington Cemetery—a beautiful place of rest that honors our heroes and their families.
Last year my wife, Margie, and I went on a three-day tour of Normandy, France, with the folks from The National World War II Museum. Normandy is the site of a battle that was the turning point in Europe during World War II. What an emotional experience it was to visit the American Cemetery and Memorial, where more than 10,000 U.S. servicemen who perished in the battle are buried or memorialized. I wish every American could visit Normandy to witness the truth of the phrase “Freedom is not free.”
I hope you can schedule some quiet time this week to reflect on those who gave everything for our freedom. Teach your children and grandchildren the meaning of Memorial Day—and move forward with kindness as you interact with others.
God bless America!