Monday is Memorial Day, an American holiday. It is the weekend the summer season starts in the United States. The holiday was created to remember those persons in the armed forces of the United States who gave their lives in the line of duty in the service of our country.
In America today, Americans seem to have forgotten that. They use the holiday to remember friends and loved ones (who did not serve) or other people who died while performing civic duties to their community, they use the holiday to thank veterans (we have our own day which is November 11, and it is called Veteran’s Day), or any number of other things. For many it is just the first weekend of summer, a weekend for sports, picnics, and BBQ’s.
This weekend I am going to remember those who died wearing the uniform of the United States military, in particular, those who are buried in military cemeteries outside the United States. Men like Bill Goodykoontz. He was serving in France in World War One. He was killed in action the first day of the battle of Belleau Wood. He is buried on the battlefield where he fell, never to return home again to a home he gave his life for. Bill was a young man and never had a chance for a wife and kids of his own. He died making it possible for my daughter to be born in a free country.
So, this weekend I am going to quietly think about Bill Goodykoontz and the price he paid for my daughter than me. I never got to meet Bill, but my grandfather always missed his older brother.