Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Importance of Memorial Day to OUR Family

As an important date in my family looms close, some of you know it as Memorial Day, but for my family, it is so much more. 

It is the day that my grandfather, SFC George William Harris was Killed in Action in the Bihn Lang Providence of VietNam on an operation called BlackJack 21. He was only 32 years old, made even more sad for me since I am now almost 2 years older than he was. He was the First Sergeant of the Special Forces Group, commonly called the Green Berets, out of Fayetteville, North Carolina's Fort Bragg. It was his 3rd tour, despite being 'flat footed' he volunteered to return. He saved someone's life, while sacrificing his own, and posthumously recieved the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, as well as the Silver Star. 

My grandfather was survived by his wife and his 4 adoptive children, one of which was my mother Raebecca, who passed in April of 2002, she was only 8 years old at the time. She used to tell me how she and her sister "Ruthie" were playing Babies on the front porch when the CACO Officer's arrived. You see, to this day Fayetteville as a nickname... Fayettenam because so many soldiers were lost from there. My poor 8 year old mother, KNEW what those men had come to do, to tell her mother, that he daddy was never coming home again; she tried to send them next door to Mrs. Rosetta's house. But the inevitable could not be avoided, he had passed leaving Rusty, Ruthie, Tom, and Raebecca without a daddy. To live their lives remembering scooter rides to get ice creams. 

Some may ask, how could I feel so sad about someone I never met? They have just answered their own question. How can you not miss, nay lament never meeting someone that is regaled to you in stories all you life, that he was this great and awesome man who loved deeply, played with his children, yet also ensured they learned the lessons they needed to make a successful and productive member of our society.

As always, my thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of everyone that has lost their beloved sailor, marine or soldier to war and to the member themselves, may the rest in eternal peace. Fair winds & following seas my fellow service men and women, you will never be forgotten, family or not.
So as you fire up your BBQ, open your beers, mix your drinks, or drink your water this Memorial Day weekend, remember those who came before you and fought for all that you hold near and dear, regardless of your country of origin, a death to protect ones country is an honorable thing and should be revered each day.

Every year I listen to this song as the day approaches. There is not only Memorial Day, a time to remember all of our deceased military members, but it is also the anniversary of when the dynamic of my family changed against the wishes of all concerned. I find Elton John's Daniel to be fitting. A song rumored to be written for the returning VietNam veteran, who just wanted to go back home and continue his life. I say rumored, because though the story, with some very slight variations, is found on SEVERAL webpages, I have never seen it confirmed by Sir Elton John himself. 

"The lyrics were written by Bernie Taupin, Elton's writing partner. When Elton wrote the music for it, he chopped off the last verse because he thought the song was already too long. This completely changed the meaning of the song, as the deleted verse explained that "Daniel" was a Vietnam Vet who returned home to the farm after the war, couldn't find peace, and decided to leave America and go to Spain. With the last verse chopped off, it became a fairly vague story of two brothers who part ways."  Songfacts

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