My name is Juju and I am a daughter of a Vietnam Veteran.
Today is a very special day because it gives me, it gives you, it gives us, a chance - as a nation, to remember our fallen heroes. Memorial Day, although a great day for family get-togethers, BBQ’s, parties, celebrations, is more than that; it’s a day that we should include into our celebrations the remembrance of the sacrifices made for us, for you, your children for because of our fallen heroes, you are able to enjoy this day in celebration, in full freedom without fear of attack.
As a little girl I remember walking the streets of ELA with my dad looking for his next fix. You see, my dad, my War Dad, came back from Nam addicted to heroin and while my dad didn’t die in Vietnam, he returned unable to live a normal life; he was unable to be a father to me or a working citizen. He was addicted to heroin and I witnessed his self- destruction, I witnessed a person lose his spirit and slowly die after the war; he was dead on arrival.
The horrors of what our soldiers endure at war are unimaginable to me, the post- trauma they come home with, if they survive, can also lead to a slow death.
So, you see, Memorial Day encompasses more than just a nice BBQ - to me - if not for the fallen who lost their lives, if not for men like my dad - the ones who came home and continued to suffer until their death, I wouldn’t have the freedom to enjoy a church service, I wouldn’t be able to speak freely, I wouldn’t be able to sleep soundly in my bed at night and for that I ask you today, before you enjoy that BBQ, before you sit for a meal, before you lay to rest tonight, take a little time to give thanks to almighty God for your freedom, say a prayer for a fallen soldier who carried your freedom and for those whom he/she left behind.
You see, Memorial Day is alive and running for as I stand here today, we are still losing soldiers. Don’t let their sacrifices get lost in a meaningless day of the month - because as their bodies are returned to their families, you and I are enjoying our freedom.
May God bless you and your families and may we always be “One Nation Under God.” Thank you.