Today is Memorial Day. For most Americans that means a day off from work, backyard barbecues, picnics, or trips to the beach. I have to say it is always memorable for me for several reasons. First, the day is rapped up with memories of treks to the beach; and now our grown sons and their families join us for what has become a family reunion.
But as the son of a retired soldier, it’s special for another reason. My Dad spent 21 years in the US Army. He fought in the South Pacific during World War II. Daddy never talked about the war but I vividly remember him having bad dreams, where he would talk in his sleep, sometimes raising his voice, and often waking up in a cold sweat.
The other reason that this day is special is Daddy died on Memorial Day 1985.
From that day to this my thoughts go back to my soldier father and to every veteran that has ever stood in harms way … for me to be able to enjoy days at the beach with my children and grandchildren.
My eight year old granddaughter Emma, asked me yesterday what Memorial Day is all about. I told her it was to keep in our hearts and memories the ones who fought for our country and especially those who laid down their lives for us. She said, “Oh Papa, just like they said in Sunday School, ‘Blessed is the man who lays down his life for his friends.’ “
I was proud to know that at eight years old – she gets it.
That moment with my granddaughter inspired me to have a family devotion where I shared with my family the story of a true American hero.
Captain Ed Freeman was a WWII veteran. He earned a battlefield commission as one of only 14 survivors out of 257 men who made it through the opening stages of the Battle of Pork Chop Hill in the Korean War.
But what he is most remembered for is his action at LaDrang Valley – one of the fiercest battles of the Vietnam War. Despite being wounded four times and being told not to fly his helicopter into the area to rescue the wounded (because the flack and machine gun fire was so heavy) Captain Freeman flew over a dozen times into the thick of the firefight to rescue 29 fallen comrades – two to three at a time.
Captain Freeman was nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor. However, because of bureaucratic red tape he did not get his medal till 2001 when President George W. Bush presented him with the award in a White House ceremony.
This nation has always had men like Freeman who were willing to fight and lay down their lives in enemy territory to keep the home front safe and secure.
I just recently read an email about Captain Freeman’s heroics. And I don’t mind telling you I was moved to tears. If you haven’t seen this anonymous account or even if you have, I highly recommend that on this Memorial Day you take the time to read it by clicking on this link titled, “Your a 19 Year Old Kid.” It’s a very moving picture of the spirit of …
“Blessed is the man who lays down his life for his friends.”
God Bless the USA.