MEMORIAL DAY  PRESENTATION

2017

 

FROM THE HEART ; 

 

HALLOWED GROUND HAS TAKEN ON MANY MEANINGS OVER THE YEARS:

            ANYWHERE A WARRIOR HAS DIED

            ANYWHERE A WARRIOR HAS WALKED

            ANYWHERE FAMILY, FRIENDS AND STRANGERS COME TO PAY HOMAGE WHERE OUR WARRIORS REST

 

THE TRADITION OF THE WARRIOR IN AMERICA HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE CITIZEN SOLDIER. 

TODAY WE HAVE PROFESSIONALS, BUT AT HEART THEY ARE FIRST CITIZENS.

CITIZENS WHO LEAVE HOME, FAMILY, FRIENDS AND COMMUNITY TO  OFFER THEMSELVES TO A HIGHER CAUSE TO THE POINT OF PERHAPS  OFFERING THEIR LIFE.

 

FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED IN COMBAT AND SURVIVED – OFTEN WITH PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL WOUNDS.  EVERYDAY IS A REMINDER OF THE SERVICE

THAT CHANGED OUR LIVES FOREVER.  

OUR SERVICE TOOK FROM US OUR CITIZEN STATUS AND MADE US WARRIORS. NEVER AGAIN TO BE ONLY CITIZENS.  WE ARE “ACHISHATA” , DEFENDERS OF THE TRIBE.  NOW AND FOREVER.

 

EVERY DAY, OFTEN IN ISOLATION, VETERANS OF TODAYS WARS  REMEMBER THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE,  WE RECOGNIZE THAT WE ARE PART OF A BROTHER AND SISTER HOOD THAT GOES BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF TIME.  MANY OF US CARRY WOUNDS THAT MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO FORGET.  SOME WOUNDS ARE VISIBLE, AND MANY ARE NOT.

 

 TODAY IS A VERY SPECIAL DAY BECAUSE TODAY OTHERS JOIN US IN REMEMBRANCE.  PLEASED TO SEE YA’LL. I’M FROM RACINE AND HAVE WALKED IN THE THE 4TH OF JULY PARADE AS PART OF THE  VIETNAM LIVING 3 SOLDIER STATUE.

 THOUSANDS COME TO THAT PARADE, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S HOT, AND SHOUT OUT THEIR THANKS.  THAT’S NICE,

 

I’VE OFTEN BEEN PART OF THE VIETNAM MOVING WALL IN DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES.  WHERE PEOPLE COME QUIETLY, REVERENTLY TO WITNESS THE NAMES ON THE WALL. 

 

THERE WAS A GREAT WEEKEND CALLED LZ LAMBO UP NORT IN GREEN BAY.  THE SOUND OF HELICOPTERS AND JET FIGHTERS OVERHEAD BROUGHT BACK MEMORIES. .AND THIS FALL I WILL BE  FORTUNATE TO BE PART OF THE FIRST WISCONSIN  VIETNAM VETERAN HONOR FLIGHT TO DC.  ALL GOOD. AND I TAKE NOTHING AWAY FROM THOSE  EXPERIENCES.

 

 BUT MY FAVORITE YEARLY EVENT HAS BEEN THE MEMORIAL DAY PARADE AND CEREMONY IN RACINE.  EVERY YEAR THERE ARE THOSE WHO PUT OFF THEIR BARBEQUE AND PICNICS TO COME OUT EARLY TO WAIT ON THE PARADE ROUTE.  NO CLOWNS, NO COTTON CANDY, JUST VETERANS PAYING OUR RESPECTS.AND  SOMETIMES IN THE WARMTH OF THE SUN, BUT THIS IS WISCONSIN SO VERY OFTEN THE WEATHER HAS BEEN COLD AND RAINY.

 

MY FIRST  MEMORIAL DAY PARADE  IN THE RAIN STANDS OUT.  WE DON’T CARRY UMBRELLAS, DON’T USUALLY DO TO MUCH TO PROTECT OURSELVES FROM THE RAIN.  SO, IN THE RAIN AND COLD,  THE BANDS BACKED OUT, AND SO DID THE CARS WITH THE POLITICIANS. 

 

WE THOUGHT ABOUT CANCELING THE MARCH, AND THEN  SOMEONE SAID “ HECK, WE’VE BEEN WET BEFORE., LET’S GO! “

 

 I THOUGHT WE MIGHT MARCH TO THE CEMETARY ALONE.

 WE MARCHED, AND THE CROWD WAITED IN THE WET AND COLD AND CHEERED AND THEN THEY WALKED WITH US INTO THE CEMETERY TO THE SOUND OF A SINGLE DRUM .  THAT GETS ME TO PUDDLE UP. THAT’S MEMORIAL DAY .   NOT JUST A DAY FOR PICNICS AND SPECIAL SALES THAT DON’T HONOR VETS AT ALL.  NOT A DAY FOR THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE.  BUT A DAY TO REMEMBER AND HOLD DEAR THE COST OF WAR.

 

 A DAY FOR THOSE WHO SERVED AND DIDN’T COME BACK, SHARED BY THOSE WHO DID COME HOME AND THOSE WHO LOVE AND SUPPORT THOSE WHO SERVE.

 

I’M HUMBLED THAT I AM A  MEMBER OF THE BAND OF BROTHERS (AND SISTERS).

 I AM VERY MOVED TO BE WITH YOU AND  MY FALLEN COMRADES.  I HAVE A FEELING TODAY HAS  ALREADY CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER.  THANKS.