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Lonnie D. Story—Memory Lessons

By Remy Benoit

Lonnie Story is one of our Veterans who has served us well.

He is the author of the biographical The Meeting of Anni Adams: The Butterfly of Luxembourg. that takes you into the real life story of the resilient Anni as she lives through wartime Luxembourg. You may read my review of this beautifully written account of her life at Amazon.

Lonnie is here with us today to remind us again that it is, has been, and must be the PEOPLE working together that has made, and will make this country great.

Welcome Lonnie!
From Holly Hill Florida—

MEMORY LESSONS

As a veteran and student of war and peace, politics and religion, Memorial Day means much more than just beach, boating and grilling hot dogs while watching flags wave in the wind. Today, we are supposed to be a nation at war. I say “supposed” because it just does not feel that way and I think that, for the most part, the average American doesn’t feel it either. I think a lot of the evidence is in the fact that day-to-day conversations seem to be more focused on the coming elections, gas prices, food prices and the housing market. I wonder if my grandfather rung his hands about the metal shortages, ration cards and gas shortages in the early to mid 1940's while his brothers were in Europe and the Pacific fighting for their lives, the lives of their buddies and the life of this country we call The United States of America. I emphasize the word United, because I fail to see much union in our Union. Well, maybe except the fact that there appears to be a plague of murmuring and selfishness in it all.

As a biographer, I have had the privilege of interviewing and speaking with many of my elders, dozens of people that are members of the “Greatest Generation.” There is good reason for their being called the Great Generation.” In our eyes, they most certainly should be called great. Sadly, we, as a society in whole, don’t seem to have learned much from something we supposedly admire and call great! If I had a “great” pizza, I think I would want another one as soon as I had the hunger for one again. I think I would want to know what made it so great and maybe even try to get the recipe. If I had a “great” day fishing, I think I would want to write down, or at least commit to memory, the reasons it was such a great day. What did I do different? What was different about the water or weather? What was different about the size and amount of fish I caught? If I had a great time with friends and family, I think I would want to memorialize it with pictures and, again, write down what made it so special and unique. I think you, the reader, may be starting to get the picture of what I am alluding to here. We have failed miserably in memorializing what this greatest generation did to cause them such distinction over generations past. When I look at it as a whole and digest the stories I have heard first hand, I find that these people didn’t consider themselves so much as great, rather they find themselves to be ordinary people with possibly one great distinction we don’t have today: They were in the fight of their lives, for their lives and that of their nation. They really cared if the United States of America remained United and the States of America. Today, we don’t seem to care if there is a declaration of war issued by not just our President, but also our Congress, a decision that cannot be made nor taken lightly.

It seems that a few, a minority of the nation, are fighting this “war.” Growing up, I always looked at historical events over the thousands of years where war occurred. It was always a “national” effort by the countries, races or peoples involved. It wasn’t a part time job or part time effort. This country has splintered so decisively and selfishly that the few in the minority holding weapons in defense of a nation are merely pawns and, although they are well supported by most, will soon be forgotten once they are off the battlefield. For me, I have a shadow over my heart today and will through the weekend. Every year, it seems, I go through this same grieving process and survivors guilt. I feel guilty for not having died in defense of my country the way my heart, mind, will and emotions had been so dedicated to doing. I survived while so many countless others did not and will not. So where are the memories to be buried and when is the funeral? It must certainly be soon because they have most certainly died in the arms of forgetfulness and reckless abandonment. So much blood, sweat and tears poured out in Europe, the pacific, Korea, Vietnam, Beirut, Grenada, Panama, Somalia and the list goes on even in Iraq and Afghanistan. Except, unlike the greatest generation, we have failed to unite, failed to remember and failed to practice wisdom from what we should have learned already. You fight a war with everything you’ve got, fight it to the death if necessary, no holds barred, no rest, no respite, no giving in until the job is done and the victory or defeat has come. For me, memorial day is every day and they are not always good days. As for Memorial Day, it should be renewed to Remembrance Day, Renewal of Commitment Day and a few other names for the sake of our friends, family and those before us and those there now, who do give all and won’t forget what war is like, what the price is and why we fight. You can bet your bottom dollar, in all the wars going on today, not just ours as Americans, soldiers are side by side, crying together, laughing together, eating and sleeping together. They are UNITED. Sadly, the States don’t seem so. To this I say with true and genuine heartfelt pain “GOD BLESS AMERICA.”


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This item is part of WelcomeHomeSoldier.com: historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.


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