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Happy Memorial Day! Thank A Soldier Today


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I went to my stepfather's burial place today. Even though I was really ill, I forced myself to go and place flowers at his grave site as I've made it a habit to visit him on Memorial Day each year. He fought in World War II.

But this time, I took my biological father's burial flag with me. Both my father and stepfather died in 2005.

To some who are anti-war, the title of this video-blog will upset them. It should not. I'm against war and always have been, but the reality of my life is that both my late father and stepfather fought in World War II, and in my father's case, Zenophon Abraham of is his name (he lives in Chicago), I am the proud owner of his neatly folded burial flag and two bullets wrapped in them. I've never unraveled it.

Chester Harding Yerger III of Oakland is my late stepfather and he  often talked of his time in the service and of attending "Officer Candidate School", and being taught how to kill. While the stories were never ones I looked forward to, I learned that sometime people go to war not because they want to harm people but because they feel their duty to protect America. I used to question this "duty" but now I honor it, even as I disagree with the idea of war.

Why? I frankly can't explain the reason as well as I'd like to but I'll try. I think as I reach deep it's because I now know some people don't feel its their job or "place" to question authority, yet, those same people made it ok for me to question authority. That was my father and my stepfather, especially as they aged.

I think it's also because people who have taken the lives of another in a time of war generally have an appreciation for life that can't be measured. At times my stepfather would think back to the war and cry. That was hard to witness. My father never talked about the war, so I never asked him about it. My dad talked about Chicago architecture, planes, trains, and automobiles. Not the war. It wasn't until he died and his funeral that I understood his role in the war; he received a 21-gun salute that October day in 2005 and I can feel the noise from the gun fire pass through me today.

It's those memories that cause me to thank a soldier when one is in my presence. I did that on a plane ride as I was standing next to a Army officer in uniform. I asked him where he was going and he responded "Home. And I'm so happy." I said "Hey, thanks for your service"; he said "I tell ya, I really appreciate that."

I got what he was saying. He was telling me, "You know, what we do isn't appreciated by a lot of people and believe me I understand why. But I'm glad you see that I'm carrying out my duty to my country, even if I may not agree with what we're doing all the time."

Thank a soldier today. Even though you may be anti-war, don't blame them for our foreign policies of the past or present. They're doing the best they can in an impossible situation.

Thank a soldier today, or any day. Even though you may be anti-war, don't blame them for our foreign policies of the past or present. They're doing the best they can in an impossible situation. They're serving our country and could die doing so.
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