This morning I had Veteran’s Day on my mind as I left the house, as well as musing over my miles walked in 2013 as I teeter on the cusp of reaching 400 miles. I reflected on my daily routine … the conditions in the neighborhoods where I walk are certainly not deplorable, nor dangerous, and the only real concern I have while walking is the driver who backs out of their driveway without looking both ways, or a dog who bares his teeth and lunges on his chain or against the fence as he defends his turf when I walk by. Unlike our servicemen and women, I do not march in searing heat or a similar debilitating clime, nor do I carry pounds of heavy military gear or my possessions upon my back. I need not look ahead and around me for IEDs which might shatter my legs or the rest of my life. My meanderings are so unencumbered next to theirs – every walk or drive may be their last. We must never forget the rigors of military life, nor fail to honor the fallen and active military personnel. For that reason, I factored in a trip to Memorial Park this morning to visit the area where our City honors its war dead. There is a huge cannon and a memorial where the names of those who died serving their country in World War II and the Vietnam War are listed. There is also a newer memorial – a tribute to Sergeant Craig S. Frank, a member of the Army National Guard who died on July 17, 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom as a result of injuries from a rocket-propelled grenade that struck him from behind. Sergeant Frank’s memorial is a concrete pillar where a likeness of his boots, firearm and helmet have been cast in bronze and sit atop the pillar. A plaque states his name, rank and date and place of death. He was only 24 years old. Shortly after the memorial to Sergeant Frank was dedicated, scrappers stole the original bronze military gear and money was raised and donated to restore Sergeant Frank’s memorial to its original state. I Googled this young soldier’s name to read more about him. I remember when he was killed and the local paper featured a story about him, but I wanted to refresh my memory. Here is some information about him, his photo and his memorial which I referenced above: http://www.fallenheroesmemorialfoundation.org/get-memorial.php?id=60
I felt sad thinking of all these fallen servicemen, especially Craig Frank, and though his family today will no doubt pay a visit to the memorial which honors his participation in the Iraqi conflict, I am sure they would give anything to simply honor him by having him carve up the turkey at the Thanksgiving dinner table. It seems like just yesterday I visited Memorial Park’s tribute to the fallen during the annual Memorial Day ceremony. The Healing Fields, flags representing each Lincoln Park fallen soldier, was a spectacular sight and quite stirring. I wrote about it in my blog post on May 19th of this year: https://lindaschaubblog.net/2013/05/19/remembrances/
God Bless all the veterans who died serving their country, as well as the remaining vets who are either physically or mentally maimed and those who are now in harm’s way. Godspeed as well to those Marines who were dispatched to the Philippines to give assistance in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. We thank you.