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Monday, May 27, 2013

Never Forget

Today is Memorial Day in the United States.
A day to remember those who died while
serving in the US Armed Forces.  I consider
myself a patriotic person, I find myself tearing
up every time I hear the National anthem, I get
a bit choked up when far from home and happen
to see the stars and stripes waving in the breeze.
This is the 2nd Memorial Day I have celebrated
this year.  The 1st was quite unexpected, I happened
to be in Arnhem in the Netherlands to visit the Open
Air Museum that is located there.  After walking for
over 5 hours I was exhausted and went inside a
windmill to sit down.  A video happened to be playing
describing the time when the people of Arnhem were
forced to evacuate their town during WWII.
The people loaded up their bicycles, carts, baby
carriages with their belongings and headed out
into the streets.  They didn't know where to go
and 600 of them ended up at the museum I was
touring and stayed in the museum exhibits.
I was astounded ~ I didn't even know this museum
existed in the 1940's.  I went away thinking I had
learned an exciting piece of history.
When I had arrived in Arnhem the day before
I had posted the location on my facebook page.
An old friend contacted me and said his Dad had
been at Arnhem in the war and asked if I would
take a photo of the famous bridge.  Rob and I
headed out with a map to find the bridge.  On
our way we came upon a huge church with lots
of activity.  A policeman explained it was
Remembrance Day in the Netherlands.
We made our way to the bridge and found a
small memorial plaza with photos and a cannon
and memorials.  And that was when I found myself
completely overcome with emotion, I thought of my
Dad and Greg's Dad and so many of the Dads of my
friends fighting this war.  We are the baby boomers,
so many of us have some close attachment to this
war.  My Dad wasn't at Arnhem but he was in North
Africa and Europe for the war.
The church bells started ringing in Arnhem
and almost everyone stopped what they were
doing.  Young guys on motorcycles pulled over,
couples going out for the evening got out of their
cars and stood silently, it was very moving.

This is my Dad driving a jeep in Naples.
I'm struck by how young our Dads were,
very close to the ages of my kids now.
We can get distracted by the fun associated
with Memorial Day, it's a day off from work,
the kick-off to summer, cook-outs and parades
and fireworks...
But let's remember to never forget.


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