This is Memorial Day

Whenever I reflect on my life’s regrets, there is always the same one at the top of the list.  It’s also probably the only thing which isn’t frivolous in nature.  I regret not joining the military when I had the opportunity.  The sad part is there wasn’t just a single opportunity, I could have enlisted at any time over the course of the last decade and a half.

When I was 18 years-old, a Navy recruiter got a hold of me and brought me into the office.  He didn’t glamorize anything.  He was straight with me.  There was only one condition: I had to lose about 80 pounds.  This is what disgusts me the most when I look back on my squandered opportunity.  It was complete selfishness and laziness.

It wasn’t until my mid 20s that this began to bother me.  At the same time I could have buckled down and gotten into shape, I still didn’t, and I still was wishing I did.  To me, my laziness is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever done.  Millions of men and women more brave than I have not let anything stand in their way to serve their country proudly.

I have no shame in admitting that I cry at the Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day parades.  I get choked up when the National Anthem is played.  And I get misty and sorrowful when I see wounded service men and women.

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Today is one of the most important day’s of remembrance we celebrate.  It is also one of the least solemn and that is just as tragic as each service member’s death.  Wives lose their husbands, children lose their parents, and parents lose their children.  Today it is incumbent upon each of us to be thankful they were willing to lay down their lives so that we may live free.


  1. R. Nash says:

    Well, John that was fantastically brave of you.

    I joined post 9/11 after many years of thinking about the several generations of my family that had served since the Civil War. My wife, driven also by the ideals of civic duty, joined shortly after.

    It has me thinking of my Grandmothers brother who fell at Juno Beach.

  2. In my direct ancestry, prior to my service the last direct line was my paternal great-great-grandfather who served throughout the Civil War, fighting in some of the worst battles, including hand-to-hand combat, and ended up one of few of his units left able to fight. He given a battlefield promotion, then sent home to recruit. He ended up as commanding officer of the 113th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and marched with Sherman to the sea. I had an uncle join the Army in the 1960s and served in Germany, and a cousin who was in the Air National Guard in the 1970s. But other than that, I was the first, joining in June 1970 and spent 4 yrs 8 months active duty.

    I think the problem with Americans is that they are really apathetic about how the got and maintain their freedoms. Remembering those who died so they could have those freedoms is not as much fun as having a cookout.

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