Monday, May 31, 2010

What does Memorial Day mean to you?

What does Memorial Day mean to you?

BBQ? Parades? Beach trip? Fireworks?

Yes, those are fun images of the day, but my uncle, Richard, comes to my mind on Memorial Day.

As a young boy, Richard Laxson was the apple of his parent’s eyes. And to everyone that met him. His brother and sister looked up to him. He had that natural leadership set of character traits that others wish they had. It was like he had wings of an eagle.

I remember meeting him when I was very young. We were at a family gathering at my grandparent’s lake cabin. Even though I was so young that the details of that time are blurry, I do remember the magic and electricity in the room when Richard was in the present. It was like he had wings of an eagle.

Richard played the guitar. He sang. His command presence brought people together to join in the fun that he created. It was like he had wings of an eagle.

My uncle was very athletic. Fast, I have been told that he could run like he had wings of an eagle.

In the 1960’s, Richard was brought into the Vietnam War. Because of his gift of being able to run fast, his commanding officer often choose him to be the runner when there was a need to “draw fire” from the enemy. He did that well because it was like he had wings of an eagle.

Richard was a strong Christian. He would play his guitar and share his faith while bringing members of his unit to Christ. It was like his wings of an eagle were being transformed by angels.

But one day on patrol with his unit, Richard heard the unmistakable click of a land mind that he had stepped upon. Richard stood still on it until his buddies were able to clear away from him. His wings are now certainly among the angels.

The hole in the hearts of his parents and siblings never filled. His brother married my dad’s sister and named their only son after Richard. So, a legacy still lives with his name sake. Still, I think that that the loss of him affected the way they lived the rest of their lives.

What a sacrifice for our freedom.

Please don’t take your freedom for granted.

I have two boys myself. They are the most important part of my life. I was young enough to be able to distant myself from the heart tearing loss of Richard. Perish the thought of the same with my boys. That is a sacrifice that would be absolutely unbearable.

If you are a parent, you know exactly what I mean. If you are a parent who lost a son, daughter, or any loved one, please accept my deepest and respectful regrets.

This loss happens every day by other parents whose boy or girl does not return from combat. They deserve more praise, support, and gratitude beyond anything we would ever be able to offer.

Please leave me a note about your feelings of Memorial Day below.

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