I want to say "thank you" on Memorial Day Posted by: McQ
on Sunday, May 28, 2006
I have a lot of people to say thank you to today. Some are still with us, others aren't.
I want to say thank you to ...
"Old Pal", Lawrence Meyers, my mother's step-father who she loved dearly and deeply. He was the only father she ever knew and the only grandfather I had. Old Pal was an infantryman in WWI and was awarded the Silver Star.
My dad, Gordon McQuain, Sr., a veteran of 3 wars and 36 years service. He was a "mustang", graduating from OCS just as WWII started. He fought on Saipan, Leyte and Okinawa.
My mom, Martha McQuain, who, instead of staying home during WWII, joined the Army, went to OCS and served in the Signal Corps as Signal Detachment commander in North Africa, Italy and France. Another mustang, she was awarded the Bronze Star for her service.
My two brothers, Gordon and Doug. Doug served in the Navy during Viet Nam. Gordon in the Airforce during Desert Storm.
My son, Bruce Jr, who served as a cavalry scout with an Armored Cavalry Regiment during Desert Storm.
A lot of service.
All for the love of country.
And I can say, without exception that each and every one of those I've thanked would be perfectly happy if there wasn't a 5th generation of the family to go to war. That isn't to say that wars shouldn't be fought. Freedom isn't free and we all know that. In my case, its mostly a grandfather's prayer that his 4 precious grandsons will never, ever have to face the horror and brutality of war in their lifetimes.
But if the day were to come when they must, I'm sure they'd look back at those 4 generations who stepped forward and never hesitate to do the same.
4 generations. And we're the lucky ones. Because they all came back. "Old Pal" was gassed in WWI. My dad lost a lung. But they all survived.
I'll never forget my dad telling me about losing his best friend on Saipan, a lieutenant from Pennsylvania named Bill Dorey. It devastated him. On a trip through PA one time, he stopped in Dorey's hometown. Being a member of the American Legion, my dad stopped at the local post and asked if they knew of Bill Dorey. This had to be 45 years after the war. No one knew the name. But the bartender pulled an old scrap book out from behind the bar and told dad that some of the guys from WWII were in the book. Half way through, there he was, a picture of a young, uniformed and smiling Bill Dorey.
My dad was a pretty tough guy and not one easily moved to tears, but he just broke down when he saw Dorey's picture. All of that had been bottled up in there since the war and just needed to come out. Dad said he was the "best armored officer" he'd ever known, and that was tall praise from my father. Dorey had been killed by a sniper on Saipan while trying to help a wounded GI get out of the line of fire.
So while I certainly want to thank all who've served our great country today, I especially want to say a heartfelt thank you to all the Bill Doreys of America.
Those that never came home.
Those that never were able to gaze back at 4 generations with pride. Or hold their child born while they were gone. Or ever again caress their husband or wife's cheek. Or hold their mother's hand and bask in her sweet smile. Or stare in pure awe at their first grandchild.
I want to say thank you to those that made the most costly sacrifice imaginable for their nation.
The least I can do is remember that sacrifice faithfully.
Of course, I never met Bill Dorey. But I know his name. And I know his story. And my son knows his name and his story. And my grandsons will know his name and his story.
That is the least I can do for the Bill Doreys of this nation on Memorial Day. Remember them and remember their sacrifice ... always.
My 5 year old daughter (my oldest child) asked me today what Memorial Day was for. I was glad she asked, though I wasn’t sure how to answer it in a way she could understand. She is not unaware of death, having recently lost a teenage friend of the family to cancer, but she has no knowledge (that I know of) about war. I told her that tomorrow is the day we remember all the soldiers who died while protecting our country. She then asked why we only remember them tomorrow, so I told her we will make sure to remember them everyday. I suppose I might have said it is the day we "thank" those soldiers rather than "remember," but her reply would still be valid. I’ll be sure that she and I remember AND thank the soldiers every day who gave their lives for our great nation.