According to Wikipedia,
“Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 31 in 2010). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I to honor dead Americans from all wars.”
I think this Memorial Day, we need to also remember and honor all our men in the service who are risking their lives for their country.
My father waited until he turned 18 and finished high school before he enlisted in the Navy, some time in May of 1944. After basic training (most likely in the Midwest) he shipped out of San Diego, California.
During roll call each morning, they would yell out your first two initials and then your last name. I remember my father telling me that is how his buddies gave him his nickname “Jan” because it sounded like his initials, “JN.”
I remember one story he told about when his ship was being attacked, gunned by the Japanese. The guy standing next to him on deck got hit, he looked over at dad and dropped. I can remember exactly where I was when my father told me this story. I was in the pool and he was on his plastic strap lounger laying on his tummy baking in the sun. We were studying WW II in school and I was asking lots of questions. He, like so many men of the greatest generation, never spoke about or brought up his war years.
My father died young. He was the same age I will be later this year. This Memorial Day, I remember and honor my father.