Monday, May 30, 2011

Remember Our Fallen Heroes

Memorial Day weekend brings back memories when, as a youngster of ten, eleven,and twelve, I would bicycle through my Portland neighborhood and count the American flags hung proudly from porches and flag poles. There were too many to keep track of, even after riding only a few blocks. Today, however, I see few flags flying in our neighborhood and it saddens me. I'm proud of our Stars and Stripes and grateful to all the brave men and women who gave their lives in service to our country.

My Uncle Jim, whom I never met, was killed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was either asleep or having his morning coffee while stationed on the U.S.S. Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked. He was not quite twenty years old. Uncle Jim and my father were close in age, almost like twins. They shared a bedroom, childhood friends, learned to drive Granddad's '36 Ford in Northeast Portland and attended Benson Tech High School together. Jim's untimely death was a terrible blow to many. My nephew's son, who just turned one, was named after Uncle Jim and so his memory lives on.

During my high school and college years, headlines of the Viet Nam War filled the newspaper and nightly news. At our ten year high school reunion in 1977, our class learned that we too had lost several friends to war.

My husband hung our flag yesterday as a humble token of remembrance to the thousands who died, especially Uncle Jim. I also honor my father who served in the Navy, but was able to return home, attend college and become a teacher. Thank you to all of our heroes and God bless their families.

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