Memorial Day Recognition and Thanks, with personal stories and tied in to Father's Day, D-Day and the privilege, as a civilian, to work with Veterans.
Pic: Public Domain
This Memorial Day is very special for me, as I reflect upon the innumerable ways in which veterans have contributed to all of us in this country and around the world. And with Father's Day fast approaching, I can't help but also recall the emphasis on service that he taught me. Also, I'll soon begin the awesome privilege of working with veterans at a local clinic.
In Baton Rouge during Memorial Day weekend, there will be many folks who are looking forward to the 3rd Annual “Bayou Country Superfest” being held at the LSU Campus, which includes top singers like Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood. While these stars will certainly help people pass a great holiday time together, may we not forget the true meaning as a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service – and not just a great chance to have a 3 day weekend. The best song that I could hear this weekend is “Taps.”
On Memorial Day, we give thanks to the innumerable sacrifices that people in the military have made for all of us, no matter what our political stripes may be. So many men and women have literally laid down their lives for us and our freedoms - there can be no greater way for someone to show us their love (John 15:13).
A few years ago, I attended a workshop that featured Dr. Sudip Bose MD, FACEP, FAAEM as the Keynote Speaker, who served for 15 months in Iraq on the front lines of combat. Dr. Bose, who had actually examined and treated Saddam Hussein, helped to sensitize social workers and other professionals at the workshop to follow the golden rule of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us - particularly related to helping returning vets cope and deal with ongoing problems related to their experiences. Dr. Bose also noted that we should always remember to thank those members off our own particular work teams who help to "prepare our parachutes for us;" you never really fully know who has been there to lend a hand for you or even to save your life.
A Father's Day connection to Memorial Day is evident for me, as I recall that my late dad, Andres N. Horcasitas, Jr. served in the Army in Alaska for 4 years during WW II. He had told me that while he was not involved in much direct infantry contact, he never knew if he had ever killed one of the enemies from his limited military excursions – which, at times, did cause dad to be somberly reflective.
When dad's Sargent asked his regimen if any of the guys knew how to type, dad said his hand never went up so fast, as he had previously gotten office training from Soule Business College in New Orleans before being drafted for the war. As a kid, I fondly heard many neat stories from dad about his close relationship with the Sargent, and we always looked forward to his Christmas cards for many years.
A D-Day (June 6) connection to Memorial Day is per my grandpa (Andres N. Horcasitas,Sr.), who had moved to New Orleans from Mexico City in the 1920s and became very involved in civic matters and was very influential. The 10,000th Higgins boat built, the “S. S. Veracruz” (named after one of the richest states in Mexico), was given to the Mexican government. My grandmother, Maria del Rosario Rodriguez Horcasitas, Sr. was given the privilege of christening the Veracruz before it was launched at an auspicious military ceremony on Sunday, July 23, 1944 at the Higgins’ Industrial Canal plant!
Recently, as I was facilitating efforts at attempting to get a patient to a local War Veteran's Home, I was blessed to hear the following voice mail message that is apropos for Memorial Day:
“… And remember:
Bless those who serve;
Bless those who have served, and
Bless those who have never returned.”
While I have never been blessed to serve in the military, as a civilian who will soon be working directly with veterans, may I follow the example of the centurion soldier, and be a man who follows and gives orders humbly while proclaiming: "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” (Mt 8:8)
Keith John Paul Horcasitas, LCSW, MHA, 1133 Knollhaven Drive, BRLA 70810, khorcasitas.yahoo.com, May 20, 2012.