Monday, May 28, 2012

Greetings, friends. Between a boisterous puppy and numerous sewing projects, I didn't realize it had been so long since I'd written. Since Luna is at the kennel till tomorrow, I have an uninterrupted opportunity to write - that is, unless the cats decide to get into some mischief, which is always a distinct possibility.

 Memorial Day. Day of cookouts and sales, no mail, and no work for many of us. Last year I had the day off because I was unemployed; this year I have the day off because I have a day off! I am gainfully employed in a position that suits me, and that is certainly cause for celebration. Memorial Day, however, is much more than that.

 I think of my 19th century cousin, John B. Feather, who died at Andersonville Prison in 1864. According to the records, he was captured as a straggler after the Battle of Cloyd's Mountain in May of 1864. He died in September of that year, the cause listed as "chronic diarrhea." He was 18 years old, maybe 19. John Feather was a farmer boy from West Virginia. He spent four months in one of the most notorious prisons in US history and died of dehydration.

Four months. Think about that for a minute. Four months with little food, no medicine, and dirty water. FOUR MONTHS. At his age, he should have been off chasing pretty girls and planning for his future, not spending FOUR MONTHS in a military prison, only to die of what is now an easily treatable affliction.

FOUR MONTHS. And he wasn't the only one. More Civil War soldiers died from disease than combat.

I also think of my dad, who earned a Purple Heart in the Korean War. Fast forward to the 21st century, and I think of my step-nephew Frankie, who lost a leg to an IED in Afghanistan on his first tour of duty with the Marines. He survived and is now doing quite well. For the rest of his life, though, he'll have a constant reminder of what he gave up for his country.

Memorial Day isn't just about the soldiers and their sacrifices, though. It's also about their families and the people they left behind. When you raise a glass today, remember all of them.

Till next time ---

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