Memorial Day has nearly passed and many of us have enjoyed time with friends and family. We’ve had a barbeque, perhaps a couple of drinks and basically just enjoyed being alive.
As Memorial Day winds down, I’d like to ask you to pause for a moment. Our lives are very busy and it’s easy to forget the true meaning of Memorial Day.
To be truthful, not long ago, I didn’t respect Memorial Day as it should be. But the enormity of Memorial Day was driven into me a couple of years ago during a 3-month ride of Europe.
While riding through France, we stopped at the American Cemetary and some of the D-Day beaches. Never had I been so moved. Seeing all those tombstones perfectly lined up as far as the eye could see touched me like nothing ever before.
And walking on those beaches. I imagined being an 18-year-old soldier running from a landing craft about 1/2 a mile towards entrenched troops shooting at me. I can’t express how it affected me. I have no words for it. But it was dramatic.
Still, there is more: I posted about my experience on social media and tried to express the enormous effect the D-Day Lander’s sacrifices had on me. I called them heroes but they are far more than heroes.
Before long, I got a reply from one of my friends. What she had to tell me was frightening, brave and shocking. My friend, Willy Maria Lopez experienced it first hand. And this is what she said:
Willy lived through World War II because of those from many countries who fought for and gave their lives to ensure that we have the opportunity to live the lives we have.
She very personally understands the meaning of Memorial Day. She didn’t have to learn the lesson as I did, she experienced it. As have many others.
Memorial Day is not just about World War II, but all the other wars where soldiers have fought and given their lives so we can live ours.
I learned a lesson from my visit to Normandy and from Willy. I hope that her words may help people like me to understand what Memorial Day is all about.
If you would like to see some of the pics from Normandy, you can check out Kim and Mike’s Most Excellent Planet Ramble in the forum.