I had to take a break from writing the technical articles. I will not attempt to use my normal humor antics. Humor is not appropriate when talking about this subject matter. I will also try to keep this article short and focused. My bride and I are very sincere about the deep beliefs we have for this country, the people, and especially memorials. We enjoy the entertainment and educational value of visiting national, state, local, and private museums. Likewise, we have visited many parks and wildlife refuges throughout this beautiful, amazing country. But the one thing that touches our souls every time, is the memorials that we had the honor of visiting. Memorials are symbolic tributes to human beings that did something special. Regardless of the circumstances, they earned and deserve the recognition that memorials represent. Memorials are our country’s way to bestow honor to individuals that had the courage to protect or improve this country. It’s our moral obligation to not forget them.
We are a family with multi-generations serving our country in the military armed forces. We are proud to have served with honor. Visiting memorials that are dedicated to military deeds have a special meaning to us. It is easy to identify memorials that are national icons and attract many visitors. We had the honor to visit memorials that have the names of people we knew personally. We knew many of their families. Visiting memorials such as I just described is important, but sometime in the future we will no longer have a populace that will be able to match the name on the memorial to the face of a real person they knew.
When we visit military and private camp grounds we look for memorials in the local area. They are not too hard to find. There are signs and other forms of literature that will point you in the right direction. Better yet, strike up a conversion with someone who lives in the area. There are many sources of information, you just need to seek it out. You would be surprised at the number of parks that contain a memorial. Static displays of military equipment, on and off base, may have a memorial within the display area or nearby. The memorial may not be big or advertised, yet the memorial represents a tribute to a human being that may have been long forgotten. Now that name is only a name engraved on a surface that is bypassed or ignored.
You don’t have to visit a memorial and perform some type of ritual. Just go there, read the name to yourself. That is all that is required to show your respect to the human being that once belonged to the name on that memorial – that hero is no longer forgotten.
We have immediate family and friends that are also serving our country, but in a different way than our military services. They are members of an elite group, commonly known as “first-responders”. They are law-enforcement, fire-fighters, and medical-professionals who have earned the right to join with our U.S. military in a common bond: The band of brothers.
Recently, we had the honor to visit the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum in NYC. We came away with a deep feeling of grief for all those who perished in that cowardly attack on America. It is heart-wrenching to see the photos of all those innocent people and heroic first responders that would not grow a day older, have a chance to say good-bye to their loved ones, or to enjoy the rewards of being a part of the lives of their most cherished family members. If you know any first responder, give them a big HUG the next time you see him or her – and don’t forget about those brave Search & Rescue dogs, they were also exposed to immediate danger. A visit to the Memorial and Museum is a “must add to a bucket list. Semper Fi