Memorial Day - A Time to Remember

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

There is a profound sadness and sorrow within me on Memorial Day. For to have known my friends you would have seen the promise and the passion that they had. To have known my friends you would have seen the sparkle in their eyes and the radiance of their hearts.

MEMORIAL DAY – A TIME TO REMEMBER

By Al Garcia

Another Memorial Day, and I will put out my American Flag in front of my house again, as I always do.  Another American holiday to celebrate.  And for many, just another day to take off work, and shop until you drop. 

For me, Memorial Day is but another national holiday, with many more that are yet to come.  For me, each day I wake is a tribute to the unfulfilled dreams of men and women that I served with and who never had the chance to feel the wonder and the splendor of the promises of their youth.  And once again, I am burdened with the memories of what could have been and should have been for so many forgotten young boys and men who never had the chance to grow up, mature and enjoy the memories of their triumphs, failures, joys and sadness that life would have brought.  Instead, they are themselves simply a memory in someone’s mind.  To me, they remain a reflection of a bygone time and place, where laughter and dreams, and boyish mischiefs, were the order of the day.  I know, for I was once among them, and heard them, and saw them, and then wept for them. 

There is a profound sadness and sorrow within me on Memorial Day.  For to have known my friends you would have seen the promise and the passion that they had.  To have known my friends you would have seen the sparkle in their eyes and the radiance of their hearts.  They were flesh and blood, heart and soul.  They were a living, breathing part of my own brief existence at the time.  And still now, their essence lingers within me, more profound and with an intensity beyond explanation, much less comprehension. 

The hardest part of Memorial Day is realizing how many never give a thought to all the forgotten men and women who never returned from war.  Each one of them young and innocent boys and girls like you and I used to be.  What hurts me most on Memorial Day is knowing that for those of us who did return from war, we have lived our dreams and tasted the nectar of life, while they were plucked from our midst in the blink of an eye, in a fury of hate, betrayal and ignorance.  And as I put out my flag on Memorial Day, I think about those friends who died in Vietnam, and about the thousands upon thousands of others who once had dreams, and friends and families.  And I think why them?  Why not me? 

On Memorial Day I wonder about how Lionel and Carlos and Mark would have changed the world had they not died so young in Vietnam.  I wonder about the legacy of having become another number, another name on a marble monument in Washington.  I wonder why time has only enhanced my memory of them.  And I wonder why we keep sending young boys off to war, knowing what we now know.  Age and time make me wonder about such things. 

How many Memorial Days have passed since I returned from war myself?  How many Memorial Days have I remembered my fallen friends?  How many Memorial Days are still to come, and how many more names and faces and forgotten dreams will be put to rest beneath cold marble stones in silent gardens of human sorrow? 

There is no celebration for me on this holiday.  For me, it is simply another day to reflect and to contemplate the lives of those I knew and those many others that served, and whose lives were snatched in the prime of their existence.  Memorial Day for me is a time to remember that war betrays and deceives the most innocent among us with promises of futures in seasons yet to be, but without explanation or expectation, extinguishes dreams and shatters destinies.

This Memorial Day I will put out my American Flag in front of the house again, and I will remember.  I will remember the days of my youth and the days that I shared with my friends who never returned from war.  For me, Memorial Days comes every morning that I wake up.

I cannot celebrate Memorial Day.  I can only remember, with the remorse only a survivor can know and feel for a lifetime. 


Submitted: May 30, 2021

© Copyright 2021 A.Garcia. All rights reserved.

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