Warriors

May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of happy destiny”…

On this Memorial Day 2010, I light a candle in loving gratitude to the memory of my father. He served in Europe and the Pacific Theatre in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He oversaw weather planning for operations in Japan with Generals James Doolittle and Curtis LeMay. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, and went on to lead a distinguished career as an Air Force officer. He died in 1962.

I light a candle in loving gratitude to the memory of my uncle who served as a Merchant Marine and was killed aboard his vessel during World War II. I light a candle in loving gratitude to the memory of my uncle, who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross flying a P-38 over Germany in World War II. I light a candle in loving gratitude to the memory of my uncle who served in the US Army in Germany in World War II and later as a flight instructor in the Air Force. He went on to race P-51 Mustangs and was a daredevil in the truest sense of the word. He died peacefully at home in 1985.

I light a candle in loving gratitude to the memory of my father-in-law, who piloted B-17’s in the Pacific and European theatres during World War II and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the British Distinguished Flying Cross and the French Croix de Guerre. He went on to great accomplishments as a career officer in the Air Force, including commanding a B-52 bomber wing of USAF Strategic Air Command.

I light a candle in loving gratitude to my uncle who served in combat in the US Navy during World War II. He is enjoying a peaceful life with his family today. I light a candle in loving gratitude to my brother, who piloted an F4 Phantom during the Vietnam war. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart. He is enjoying a peaceful life with his family today. I light a candle in loving gratitude to my uncle, who served in the US Air Force during the Korean war. He is enjoying a peaceful life with his family today. I light a candle in loving gratitude to my cousin, who served in the US Coast Guard in the 1970’s. He is enjoying a peaceful life with his family today. I light a candle in loving gratitude to another cousin who served in the US Navy in Cuba and elsewhere in the 1970’s and lost valiant comrades at sea. He is enjoying a peaceful life with his family today.

I light candles in loving gratitude to each of these men: my father, my uncles, my father-in-law, my brother, my cousins. I light a candle in loving gratitude to the patriot Nathan Hale, my ancestor, and to the countless other members of my family who have fought to create and protect this country for almost 400 years. I light these candles to acknowledge all my fellow countrymen who have known dedication and sacrifice beyond my understanding.

I also light a candle in loving memory of my other brother, who chose a different path and instead fought in the streets of our country—with courage befitting a warrior—to help end what he believed were illegal and immoral wars in Southeast Asia. He died in 2008.

I light these candles to acknowledge these gifts I have received: I have lived a life without having to wield a weapon of war, or to have one held against me. I live my life today free from the horror, fear and madness that characterizes all wars.

So, just for today, I honor these brave and unselfish men by choosing to face my life in the fullest way I know: resolved to being mindful and present, accepting of what is, acknowledging my fears with courage, wisdom and serenity, dedicating this day in service to others, and filled with gratitude for the countless gifts I have received from those who came before me.

Happy trails!

“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or as a curse.” — from The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge by Carlos Casteneda

Advertisements