An Outreach Program of MarineParents.com
I've been in a bit of a funk lately. I'd like to blame it on the heat and humidity we're having here in Wisconsin, but it goes much deeper than that. A couple nights ago my husband and I watched several episodes of "Band of Brothers". Since there was nothing to watch on TV and it was too hot outside to do anything else (guess maybe I can blame it on the heat) it seemed like a good way to pass a couple hours. After watching 3 episodes I cried, "uncle" and sat there and cried, OK sobbed for a half hour. And still today I can't seem to get those images out of my head. No, this was not the first time I watched a WWII movie. I actually consider myself a bit of a WWII buff. So I'm struggling not only with the amazing sacrifices made by those that fought in WWII, and why now am I so moved? Not that I haven't always been a huge supporter of WWII veterans. But somehow I feel like we as a nation have not done enough to thank these veterans. Do our young people today really know of the sacrifices they made for us? Or for that matter that whole generation, "The Greatest Generation"?
We recently took a trip to Washington,DC. I wanted to take my dad to see the WWII Memorial. I was a bit taken aback when I saw signs placed about every 50 feet around the fountain stating, "Please show respect for the memorial. No wading or coin tossing." I didn't remember seeing those signs when we were there a few years earlier with our children. What bothered me was that between these signs were people sitting dangling their feet in the water. As we walked around the memorial, I was overcome with emotion, being there with a veteran, and then to see these people showing such disrespect for all the sacrifices of everything that memorial stood for made me physically ill. I finally couldn't control myself any longer and started going up to people and pointing out the signs and saying,"Do you know how many hundreds of thousands of men were killed or wounded in WWII? That's what this memorial is here for." I got some strange looks, but they all got up and walked away.
We ended up going to DC because I wasn't able to talk my dad into going on an Honor Flight. Honor Flight is an organization that flies WWII veterans out to DC to see their memorial free of charge. When I tried to get my dad to sign up, he would always say, "those are for heroes bigger than me". That's what gave me the idea to take him there myself. Anyway,they spend the day in DC being taken around to see some of the memorials and are flown back to a hero's welcome at the airport back home. The welcome home they never got. It's an amazing experience to be a part of. If you have Honor Flight in your area you should take the time to go to the airport for one of these homecomings, you will remember it for the rest of your life.
So I've kind of been all over the place with this. Sort of rambling on as I try to figure out why this time am I so struck by the images I saw the other night? A WWII veteran dies every 90 seconds; our time is running out. Have we shown them enough gratitude for the freedom we have today because of their sacrifices? Have we learned learned the lessons from that generation? I realize this isn't a group that needs to be lectured on appreciation of freedom. We all seemed to have raised children that have that same honor, courage, and love for country that those WWII veterans had (have). Certainly we appreciate the sacrifices made some sixty-plus years ago, don't we? I guess just can't help wondering, have I done enough?