LETTERS: On the day after Memorial Day

Reader talks about the day after Memorial Day

Yesterday was Memorial Day. I put out my American Flag in front of the house then retreated to my patio to enjoy a light breakfast with my two dogs, Mikey and Sydney. It was a beautiful day in South Texas. Peaceful and quiet.

As I sat and reflected on the holiday, my mind immediately returned to my days of youth and days of dreams.

To a time without the pain and aches of loss. To a time that promised the fulfillment of childhood dreams and answers to the wonder and splendor of life itself. The problem that I was experiencing yesterday morning as I sat and enjoyed the day, however, was that some of my friends never had the chance to fulfill their dreams or find their answers to the wonder and splendor that was their life.

And I reflected on this Memorial Day with profound sadness and sorrow. To have known my friends you would have seen the promise that they had.

What depressed me the most about

yesterday was knowing that what most people knew of Memorial Day was only that it was J.C. Penney’s or Kohl’s or Macy’s annual 30 or 40 percent off specials for that day. Shop. Go out to the beach. Enjoy another Monday holiday without having to go to work. How many took the time to actually reflect for a moment on simply honoring the men and women who died while serving this great nation?

How many never gave a thought to all the forgotten men and women who never returned from war? Young, innocent boys like you and I used to be.

The problem is we’re here and they’re not. We’ve gotten older, while they remain young in our memories.

We’ve lived our dreams and tasted the nectar of life, while they were plucked from our midst in the blink of an eye, in a fury of hate, betrayal and ignorance. And as I put out my flag yesterday morning, I thought about those friends who died in Vietnam and about the thousands upon thousands of others who once had dreams, and friends and families. And I think why them? Why not me?

Age makes me wonder about such things.

How many Memorial Days have passed since I returned from war myself? How many Memorial Days have I remembered my fallen friends?

There is no such thing as a happy Memorial Day. Yesterday should have been a day to reflect and to contemplate the lives of those we knew and those many others that served and whose lives were snatched in the prime of their existence. War betrays and deceives the most innocent among us. War promises futures, extinguishes dreams and shatters destinies.

Yesterday was Memorial Day. I put out my American flag in front of the house and I remembered. I remembered the days of my youth and the days that I shared with my friends who never returned from war. For me, Memorial Day comes every morning that I wake up. I think and therefore I am, and I am them as well.

Al Garcia, Harlingen