Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.

A number of years ago we visited Arlington National Cemetery. If you haven't been there you should go. There are few things as moving as standing atop the hill next to Arlington House and seeing miles and miles of grave markers stretched across the countryside. I have also stood at the Vietnam War Memorial and been moved to tears by the huge number of names carved on "the wall." The knowledge of how many service men and women have given their lives for our country really hits home at both places.
"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived!" – George S. Patton
My Dad, James O. Skelton

My dad served in the Army during World War II. He rarely talked about what it was like, but he would proudly say "I served in Patton's outfit."

Dad was a tank commander and when the tank he was in rolled over a land mine, he was blown out of the top. He had a severe head injury and lost most of his hearing as a result. He received a purple heart and was decorated for meritorious service.

My mother was actually notified that he had been killed in action. I can't even imagine how horrible that must have been for her. It was two weeks before she was notified that he was alive and in a hospital in England. It was not something that either of them liked to talk about.

When my family had its first family reunion last spring, I learned that military service is a long-standing tradition among the men of the Skelton family. My cousin Rodney is in the process of writing a book about them. I can't wait to read it.

However you celebrate today, take a moment to remember those who served and didn't come home. Remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice. And remember the sacrifices of their parents, wives, and children.

And, thank you to all those who still serve or who have served with honor in our military. I am so grateful for your sacrifices.


  1. Great tribute. I hope you and yours had a lovely day. I bet your cousin's book will be fascinating; be sure to let us know when it's published!

  2. I would also like to read the book -- Freedom is not Free!