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And Finally - (Mom)orial Day

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News May 2017

I’m lucky my mother is still around to hear me thank her. I could never know how many of our veterans’ mothers are no longer with us.

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I’m not sure if this column title is an original word, and I offer my apologies if someone thought of it before me. I’m thinking that during the month of May, we have two big holidays, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. I’m not going to bore you with the significance of either day, as they’re self-evident. I will state how interesting it is that these two holidays, more than most, really fit well together when having multiple celebrations. Of the many things our mothers have done for us throughout our lives, sometimes it’s easy to forget the things they did before we were born. 

My mom was in the Air Force during Vietnam, so this month when I call or visit for Mother’s Day, I will also say, “Thank you for your service.” I can’t count the many times that phrase has been said to me, by strangers and friends alike. But I must admit, I’ve never said that to my mother. I mean, I’ve thanked her many times for all she has done for me personally, and truth be told, I most likely wouldn’t be here today had it not been for the many sacrifices she made to raise healthy and educated children. But I’ve never thanked her for all she did for our country before I was born. Talk about a moment of self-revelation.

I’m lucky my mother is still around to hear me thank her. I could never know how many of our veterans’ mothers are no longer with us, which brings me to Memorial Day and the connection. 

Mothers & Soldiers

Memorial Day is about honoring those who have perished in the defense of our nation. I can’t help but think of all the mothers who lost their sons, husbands and fiancés in a time of war. Most of all, I can’t help but think that some of the soldiers we will mourn on this Memorial Day are mothers themselves. In days past, I used to scold those who are out in the park or in their backyard, grilling away as if they had not a care in the world. Now, I’m thinking that maybe having a get-together with the family is more than appropriate. Now, more than ever, I can see how families need to celebrate and hold on tighter to those who are still with us and honor those mothers who have fallen while in the military. Please do not misunderstand. In no way is it my intention to separate the notion of mother and soldier. It’s quite possible they’re one and the same. Let’s take a glance through history: Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Bea Arthur, Gen. Ann Dunwoody and Commodore Grace Hopper. You might be asking Bea Arthur? The woman from the TV show The Golden Girls? Yes, that woman from The Golden Girls drove a truck for the Marine Corps in 1943. The history of women and mothers in our military goes back to the time when we were called colonies: Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Elizabeth (Betsy) Ross, Deborah Samson and Sybil Ludington. The last two were front-line soldiers. Check it out, it’s an interesting read. 

It Takes Everyone

I continuously speak of soldiers losing lives. Let us not forget that truck drivers, doctors and nurses, although not combatants, are a crucial part of any battlefield scenario, and they have suffered more than their share of losses, as well. In fact, it takes everyone to keep a nation safe, and I need to remember that myself from time to time. During these times, I notice a lot of division among our citizens. The truth is, if we take the time to read the history books, we would all come to realize that the reason we have made it this far is because of our diversity and cooperation and not because of any type of isolationism. Our nation’s builders and defenders have been white, brown, Asian, Latino, gay, straight, male and female. I’m just using my little forum to remember that many of those who have fought or fallen in battle, past or present, are also mothers. In fact, one of those mothers is mine, and I plan to thank her first chance I get. 

Happy Memorial Day, Mom. Or am I just trying to kill two birds with one stone?  

The opinions of the author do not necessarily reflect the position of Paralyzed Veterans of America.

 

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And Finally - (Mom)orial Day

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