Today I woke up with thoughts of my brother, Johnny Williams, who never had the opportunity to fight on an actual battle field. He was injured during one of his training exercises and was honorably discharged. But we spoke often about the emotional strain being a serviceman had taken on him. He was so proud and completely honored to serve but it was hard for him to be in a place other than his home among people that he had only recently come to know. He told me that they became his family away from home, but they could never replace what he longed for. Serving our country can hold one’s heart’s hostage as it yearns for what used to be.
I later found myself thinking of my husband Kris John Kangas, who I lost in 1995. He too was honorably discharged after a shrapnel injury. He suffered through watching his best friend die in the same accident that injured him. I saw the emotional toll that took on him. As time passed, the pain he held inside slowly rose to the surface. That pain was sometimes quite ugly, I knew I couldn’t blame him for that. Some of his behavior was dark and unforgivable, but I’m sure many of those that have served or continue to serve fight demons daily.
I continued to think of family, friends and strangers that gave themselves for our country. I found myself praying for them along with everyone still fighting. Today is the day to give thanks and remember those who have fallen on our behalf.
‘Think not of what has been lost, but what has been gained through their absence. Know that they fought valiantly for those known and unknown to them with courage and hope. I find honor in celebrating the memory of each of you.’ Happy Memorial Day!
My Memorial Day©
By Felina Silver Robinson