I am disappointed to learn that this year’s Memorial Day Services at the Rolla Veterans Park has been canceled due to the virus. Although I will miss thanking many of my friends who served during our many conflicts, I understand that many of these same people are among the most vulnerable people to the virus and need to take every precaution to keep safe.
As I sit and think about the canceled service, I wonder back over some of the experiences these same folks had during their time in the Military.
I wonder if any commanding officer would have given the order to quarantine yourselves in a warm place so that your buddy did not catch the flu from you during the freezing cold at the Battle of the Bulge or during the equally cold Korean Conflict when feet were frost bitten and people were freezing to death.
I wonder if anyone in Vietnam was allowed to stay in camp because their feet had a disease from the wet conditions, or to move out of the way when Agent Orange was applied.
I wonder if anyone was given the opportunity to stay in the shade of the tent rather than go out on patrol in the Middle East with full body armor and a heavy pack in 100+degree weather while hoping they did not step on a mine.
I wonder about the folks at Valley Forge who were freezing to death rather than go back to their farms and take care of the family and livestock.
I wonder about the folks in the filthy trenches of the Civil War and World War I that died from various diseases because they were forced into very close quarters with their comrades.
There are many more times when our men and women had been forced to suffer hardships in order to protect our great country and I would like to thank each and every one of them.
In these times when many of our freedoms, that these men and women fought for, are magically disappearing, such as simply going to church (even to just sit in the car in the parking lot), or to simply be allowed to open your business back up to support your family or for kids to be allowed to play on playground equipment, I truly wish to remember them in some meaningful way.
Memorial Day will probably find me at Rolla Veterans Park, sometime during that day, walking the path while looking at each of the monuments that the Veterans have on display at their own expense and labor. I will pause and think about each of the conflicts represented by the displays and the sacrifices that the folks endured to protect our freedom.I promise to keep the same social distancing as practiced at all the overcrowded shopping malls and places where you could buy a roach clip if needed, while I could not go to a clothing store that sold material to make masks to donate to the hospital, but that is just me.
I encourage each of us to thank a Vet any way we can, while we are still allowed.