Monday, May 30, 2016

To Charlie, And All The Brave Soldiers Who Died For Their Country

As a kid in my El Paso neighborhood, I remember a number of my older neighbors and friends being drafted into the military.
Many of them, sadly, never returned home safe. I remember one afternoon, in particular, playing out on the street with my friends, when a dark green military car with two men in uniform drove up and parked across the street. They knocked on the door where Charlie lived before he had been drafted. Charlie's mom opened the door and the two soldiers walked in. 15 seconds later we all heard a blood curdling scream that enveloped the neighborhood and lasted forever. To this day I can recall it vividly. Charlie had been killed during the battle of Quang Tri, in Vietnam. Charlie's mom was informed Mother's Day weekend. Needless to say, she, Charlie's dad, and his sisters were never the same again. They soon moved way from the neighborhood. And for us kids, it was the first time that we understood the impact of war, not from a textbook, but from personal experience. That night, I took all of my old green soldier action figures, packed them in a box, and stuck them in the closet - never played with them again. I've come to realize that Memorial Day honors not only the soldiers who gave their lives in the service of our country, but their families and close friends who experience the loss in an incredible way. I have had family members in the military, but, gratefully, all have come home safe. To Charlie, and to all of those brave soldiers from El Segundo Barrio in El Paso, Texas, "we forever honor you and thank you."

No comments:

Post a Comment