Gold Star Dad

The thoughts of a father who has lost a son to war

The 2nd Memorial Day:

Posted by fozzynok on 08/11/2009

The second Memorial Day has come and gone. This was the second Memorial day without Micheal. It’s kind of strange that I have always taken the time to remember the reason for this day. Most of this comes from being a military brat raised by a military man and being a veteran myself. The day has always been honored. I can definitely say that it is more important now for obvious reasons. I so see that there are more and more people out there trying to remind people that this is not all about weenie roasts and getting drunk, sunburned and then passing out in the lake somewhere.

May is probably my toughest month next to December. May 17th is Micheal’s birthday and then the same month is Memorial Day weekend. We spent last years ceremonies with my fathers VFW group in Gainesville TX. We were still pretty numb last year and really its just a blip in the memory banks. This year’s ceremony was a little more memorable for me. The old soldiers from the VFW put on a short ceremony that really describes what the whole day is about. A few of the VFW senior members take turns speaking and placing flowers or other items on small monument there. My dad is one of these. This year he got a bit choked up when he was speaking.

There are two gold star mothers that attend the ceremony. One of them lost a son in Vietnam and of course my wife Angelia. They are there as a real symbol of the toll that American families pay along with their soldiers who are lost in wars around the world in service to their countries.  The fallen pay the ultimate price, the families pay a different fee and far too many people in this country don’t even pay attention.

We had some special guests at our home this year. Three of Micheal’s unit members came down from Ft Campbell to spend the weekend with us and to visit my son’s grave. They are all great folks to be around of course one of them I only now am finding out or remembering that a few days after Micheal was killed was “blown up” in Iraq. This is a term that I have heard several of the men I have met use. They use it as a “matter of fact” and common every day term like we use common terms like “the flu” or “sick day”. It did bother me a lot that one of Micheal’s friends and one of the men who I talked to and who wrote to comfort me is now home but probably permanently damaged. He just seemed very quiet and a little pale when I came home from work and greeted them. He just seemed a little out of sorts. Not completely out of it, but there was something just not right. I was a bit ashamed that I didn’t know.

This fine young man was working as the gunner in a Humvee when they were attacked by an IED. The blast caused a brain injury that he is still working with and probably will for some time. The good news out of this is that he is getting some marvelous help and if there is one thing that doesn’t get reported enough are the fine things that the military is doing these days with these men. We owe these fine men everything and it is America’s duty to do everything they can to make these men right again or as damn close as they can get them and take care of them as they took care of us!

These men are welcomed in my home any day and all hours of any day, they have free room and board if they ever need it. I forever owe them for the things that they do, and what they will continue to do.  I don’t think they are ever taken care of enough.

2 Responses to “The 2nd Memorial Day:”

  1. I’m so glad you put the blog back up and are writing. I missed it and you while it was down and I worried. I spoke to a father here who had recently lost his son (it’s about 2 months now). He was killed by accident when his commander’s gun when off when they were attacked on patrol at night. I think there was a struggle and the gun went off – I don’t know all the details, but Noam’s father is amazing in his ability to not be angry at the commander or the circumstances. He said he has to live with “chronic pain” and I thought of you and Angelia. I’m glad you are writing as it will hopefully help you – and will certainly help others along the path you find yourself.

    I know what you mean about Memorial Day. Because Israel remains a nation at war – active war and not something in a distant land that allows its people to pretend it isn’t at war – and because we are such a small country, Memorial Days are real here. There are no sales, no barbecues. Entertainment places (by law and by choice) are closed. A siren sounds throughout the country and people stop what they are doing – cars and buses stop in the middle of the street and people listen for 2 minutes to this air raid siren…it is a wonderful…and horrible feeling. The TV is filled with stories of soldiers who have fallen – no entertaining programs are shown (except via foreign channels), but all local Israeli channels focus on the day. One station starts at 8:00 at night and then for 24 hours lists all the fallen…each year, the names are programmed to scroll just a bit faster so that this year’s fallen fit in within the time allocated.

    This was my third Memorial Day with Elie in the army. It was the first time in these last few years that I could manage to drag myself to the ceremony to honor others. I’m so impressed that you could do it both of these past times.

    I don’t want to tell you to be strong – I just want to tell you to keep writing, if it helps you. Much love from Israel and another soldier’s parent.


    • fozzynok said

      Thanks. I am going to leave this one up I guess. I should have left the other one up, but I allowed others to drag me into places where I should not allow myself to go.

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