Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day


Memorial Day.

Today I will find a quite space and try to imagine.

I am a 17 year old kid in 1946, and I walk off a share croppers farm in Tennessee and board a bus or a train heading off into a world I have barely heard about. I have lived my life in a house with no electricity, no running water, no central heat. My window into the world comes at the end of a ten mile walk to town, where I listen to the talk of men gathered in coffee shops and on side walks.

There is a war blazing somewhere out there, in a foreign land, and I have heard the call. I have decided to stand up and answer that call. The train takes me to California where I eventually board a ship headed for the Pacific Theater. I am on a Destroyer and during the course of my service, I am assigned to operating a machine gun during battle stations. The destroyer I serve on is involved in seventeen major battles in the Pacific. My ship stands guard for the fleet around its perimeter as a first line of defense. The Kamikazes come and the barrel on my machine gun turns red from the heat of the rounds I fire, trying to stop them before they kill me. A plane makes it through and explodes into the side of my ship just yards from where I am fighting, killing me instantly.

I can't really imagine this. The thought of leaving the comfort of my home, traveling to a strange land, and living in the constant uncertainty of war is beyond my ability.

I have traveled to other parts of the the world and understand the abundance of blessing I experience living here in America. All the comforts and convenience that I usually take for granted. I do believe that being born in the United States is like winning the lottery.

The fact is, that seventeen year old kid who enlisted in 1946 paid the price and purchase the ticket to that lottery. He gave his life and I live in comfort today.

On this Memorial Day although I can not imagine. I will try to remember that the life I live today was paid for by that seventeen year old kid and with the lives of countless other Americans who stood up, answered the call, and paid the ultimate price.

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