Happy Memorial Day.

Lest I forget the intent of Memorial Day amidst incredible summer sales and heartache over the state of the world right now —

Today is Memorial Day. I am deeply proud of the brave men and women in my family (and Landon’s) who have served our country and imperiled or lost their lives. And though I don’t find anything foolish or wrong about grieving the losses so many American families have endured with loved ones fighting abroad, this quote reminds me that gratitude is where my heart should be living:

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived.” — George S. Patton

P.S. Memories from my father’s visit to see a Vietnam War exhibit a year or two ago. (He is a Vietnam War vet — 82nd Airborne.)

P.P.S. As summer arrives, revisiting my thoughts on living in alienation from cricketsong and the gorgeousness of swings as a child.

4 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for reading a bit about him, and for writing me. You are so kind.

    His name is Becket.

    I hope you don’t mind if I tell you briefly of his story.

    He was stationed at Twentynine Palms when he became very sick. He went for medical help but was turned away.
    He kept pushing – but was pulled from training because his skin was turning blue and he was in severe pain. He walked to the hospital on base and was told he had the flu – even though his flu test was negative.
    This was on a Friday. He was given two days SIQ (sick in quarters) where he was not allowed to leave his barracks room. He was told to give money to his roommate to buy him food and medicine. But he had already been doing that for a week because he was so sick – and he ran out of cash.
    He asked his roommate to buy him a bit of food, some Gatorade, and Motrin and he’d pay him back – his roommate agreed. But when he came back he didn’t have anything and told Becket “Sorry buddy, I forgot”.
    Two days my son lay in his barracks – without being checked on, and without even Gatorade or Motrin.

    On Sunday he called me to say he hadn’t slept since Friday because his leg and hip hurt so bad – I begged him to break SIQ and go to the officer on duty to get back to the base hospital. That this wasn’t the flu. He did.
    But after figuring out that he was dying, the base hospital sent him off base an hour away to a civilian medical center without telling his chain of command.
    A doctor at the civilian medical center called me to say they had my son and that I need to get on the first flight out. This was at about 1am – I was on the first flight out of Logan at 5:30am.
    But I didn’t make it in time. He died alone at 18 years old from flesh eating bacteria before I could get to him.

    Today I am fighting to overturn the Feres Doctrine – legislation that has been interpreted to stipulate that there is no requirement for oversight of medical care provided to our military members – there is no standard of care, and no means of holding military doctors accountable for gross negligence.
    Our military members can be denied care (something far more common than anyone knows) – or die from gross negligence and there are no consequences.
    Livestock are treated better.

    1. Lynn — This is horrific. I am so sorry you and Becket had to endure such a horrible experience. I am thinking of you both today and will think of you often. Thank you for sharing your experience — my mother emailed me to say that it must have taken you such courage to write so candidly about him here. Thank you, and God bless you!!

      xx

  2. Hi. I read your blog every day and I’ve commented on a few posts.
    My son was a Marine. It was a calling for him. He was born brilliant and brave, and wanted to be a Marine since he was very young.
    He joined the Young Marines at 10 and by the time he enlisted in the Corps., he was Sergeant Major of the New England regiment and responsible for hundreds of Young Marines – a job he took very seriously.
    He was in the honors program and attended AP classes all through high school – and he put everyone ahead of himself – me, his sisters, his friends, his school, his unit, his community.
    He shipped out to Parris Island for boot camp on September 5, 2017. He officially became a Marine and received his Eagle, Globe, and Anchor on November 22, 2017.
    He died in service at 18 years old on February 5, 2018.
    I really don’t know why I’m writing this other than I’m so proud of him and I miss him so much – and you seem like such a caring person. I just wanted to tell you about him.

    1. Oh Lynn — I have been thinking of you and your boy since you wrote this. Thank you so much for sharing a little bit about him — he truly does sound brave and brilliant. I am so deeply sorry for your incredible loss. I cannot imagine your grief. God bless you both. What was his name?

      Thank you again for sharing.

      xxx

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