Memorial Day always brings thoughts of Mike. He was a great kid. I still see him sitting there in my classroom in Simi Valley, big goofy smile, big and happy Italian-American family and grateful parents, loving sisters, good friends. Mike was memorable. He was always helpful and that followed him into his adult years. He wanted to be a paramedic and he earned it–went off and joined the Army after 9/11 and shipped to Iraq where he was with the elite 571st Med-evac unit, “the Witchdoctors.” His Blackhawk helicopter was shot down over Falujah in 2004. All aboard were killed.
There are many stories like his and so many of us have them. They deserve to be told, every year, over and again so that people can know them. Our war dead should not be forgotten. If they are, then war is perpetual. Remembering helps us realize what was lost–and that is the first step toward peace.
There is so much more to say, I know. I’ve got a thousand stories but I have to wade through them one at a time. Today is for Mike–and all of his brothers and sisters. Peace…