When I was my students’ ages, Memorial Day was all about the three-day weekend. Military service? Wasn’t that old guys, like my grandpa? Visiting cemeteries with flag pins on their lapels and saluting and stuff? (Yes, I was that self-absorbed and stupid.)
For the military is not about old geezers at all. Those serving are young people, at the very best time of life. They are the ones who step up for military service.
For me, it’s more than just names on banners. When I think of Army or Navy or Air Force or Marine Corps, I see a parade of faces. My former students: David and Tyler and William and Sean and Christine and Brandon and Zach.
Many do not fully comprehend what they are in for when they enlist. A few of them have left me scratching my head, for if they couldn’t obey our rules at school, what would they do when court martial was at stake? Ah, but they grow and change. It takes guts and courage and grit to show up for duty day after day, to persevere even when everything inside screams “Slack Off! Quit! Way Later on This!”
Pictured is one of the banners I see as I drive along Murray Boulevard. I pray for each young man and woman as I pass. Well, I do when the traffic is slow enough. The city continues to add banners, one after the other…
Happy Memorial Day, friends! Thank you for your service, veterans!
(Photo Credit: Benjamin Brink, OregonLive.com)