follow site Memorial Day, a day we honor those who died in service to our nation or for the freedom of people all over the world.
follow url It has always had a deep meaning for me since I grew up in a military family during the Vietnam War.
In 2006 I visited Washington DC on Memorial Day weekend. That visit, and subsequent visits have provided a lot of additional opportunity for reflection.
While there I experienced a Memorial Day Saturday at Arlington National Cemetery. That sacred ground is always emotional, but on Memorial Day weekend, with the acres upon acres of gravestones accompanied by small United States flags – wow!
I also went to the Wall of the Viet Nam Memorial. It was not my first time at the Wall, but I am never prepared for the emotion of seeing the tens of thousands of names, mostly from my father’s and my generations, several of whom I know.
At each of those places I’ve also encountered Scouting connections.
At Arlington I found a memorial for TSgt. Joel Mayo. Joel was a Scoutmaster in the Pensacola, Florida Boy Scout Council when I was on the staff there. Less than a month before he was to join us at a Wood Badge training course he died in the attempt to free the American hostages in Iran. We dedicated the course – SE-252 – to him.
At the Wall I met a fellow Scout executive who is a close friend of mine. After some of the usual pleasantries I remarked on the impact of the monument. He reached out and pointed at a name and said “that’s my brother.” The tears began to flow.
In May 2012 I again visited Arlington. This time for a funeral. Major General Robert Scott Frix was a war hero, Distinguished Eagle Scout, mentor, and friend. It was an honor to be at his service in Arlington and it was inspirational beyond words.
I again walked among the rows and rows of headstones and saw many familiar names from history and of people I knew. By chance (perhaps not) I happened upon my friend Duane Kosmicki.
There is a lot to do in Washington DC, but I highly recommend that a priority the next time you visit is walk the sacred ground of Arlington and the other monuments to the heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.
I always make sure that I do. I visit Bob and Duane on every visit to Arlington.
One day a year is not enough considering all they have done for us.