Memorial Day – Not just for barbecues

I love living in the United States.  No really, I do.  I may often toy with the idea of moving to another country saying that things are just too restrictive here.  Our government can’t agree on anything, people don’t have access to health care, and not everyone can get married.  But when it comes right down to it, I am really quite proud of my American heritage.

There are going to be a lot of posts today on both sides of the spectrum.  Everything from “I F****** Love My Country!” to “I F****** Hate My Country!”  The thing these posts will all have in common is how serious the author is.  Love and hate are both pretty serious emotions.  It is for this reason that I have decided to at least try to lighten the mood a little bit with a story from my own family.

My great-uncle Lauren served the United States during World War II.  He was in the South Pacific (which, due to the extreme theatricality of my family makes me think of the Rogers & Hammerstein film.  I know that’s not what it was really like.)  However, he was taken as a POW by the Japanese during his service.

For years, nobody knew where he was.  He was MIA, people tried to convince my great-aunt Helen Jo that he was dead and that she should move on with her life. She didn’t.

Finally, they found the POW camp he was in and liberated the soldiers being held there.  They had been starved and tortured for years.

*Side Conversation: I thought you said this was going to lighten the mood!
Me: It is, I’m almost to the funny part of the story!*

They warned Helen Jo that her husband was probably going to be the thinnest she’d ever seen him before.  However, before returning these heroes to their families they spent several months rehabilitating the men. Part of this rehabilitation was a 24-hour all-you-can-eat buffet.  

The day of Lauren’s arrival was monumental to Helen Jo. She had not seen her husband for nearly 5 years. She saw many men getting off the train and she recognized none of them.  Finally, she saw a man that she thought could be Lauren.  But how could it be?  This man was fat!

This man was Lauren. He had certainly taken advantage of that buffet! Lauren passed away several years ago after having battled Alzheimer’s for nearly 15 years. 

And so, for Lauren and all the others who are protecting our country, thank you.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  And more, thank you to the families who have to wonder if their loved ones are ever coming back. Image

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2 thoughts on “Memorial Day – Not just for barbecues

  1. Rachel, I loved your family story and I love how you’re honoring the reason we celebrate this holiday. For many, this has just turned into a long, three day weekend but thankfully, many, such as yourself, still remember our fallen soldiers. Kudos to you, lady!

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