I was talking to my daughter the other day about the importance of flag etiquette, every day, but especially on Memorial Day. She's young and though very bright, doesn't always understand. She said, "It's just a piece of cloth, it doesn't really matter.". That's the way a large portion of her generation thinks, but it's so much more than a piece of cloth. It represents an IDEAL of what the world could be, it's a representation of the FREEDOMS that we believe and hold so dear that many have been willing to die for that flag.
It got me thinking about books that celebrate real heroes and make why we celebrate Memorial Day just a little more clear. It was hard to think about the books that I wanted to be included, there are so many. Here they are, in no particular order:
The true story of American hero Luis Zamperini. He was an Olympian and a flyboy. He and his crew mates still hold the record for longest survival at sea - 43 days adrift before being captured by the Japanese. This is a story of heroism, courage and endurance. If you haven't read it yet, it's a MUST.
I love this book because it presents the precursors to the war from both sides and honestly. It's a true and harrowing tale of American Naval Airmen and the things that they endured during the war. I especially loved the story of George H.W. Bush and his desire and ultimate decision to become a Navy Torpedo bomber.
This is the true and courageous story of the team who engaged in possibly the greatest rescue mission ever. I love this one because it's set in the Philippines and not only does it discuss the bravery of the soldiers but also those Filipinos who helped them. A true story that reads like a novel.
This one is set during Viet Nam and follows the brave soldiers of Alpha Company. I love this one because it shows the inner struggles as well as the larger issues. It challenges you to think and demonstrates the things they carried - not just into battle but after some of them came home.
Set during World War 1, this book is one that changes you forever. It stays with you and influences you long after you have finished reading it. Most of all, it makes you truly understand the real cost of war.
This one is a true account of a soldier in Iraq. It isn't the media's version of the war, its just one Marine's account of what it was like, day after day after day on the ground. Brutal and honest.
And not to be forgotten those who serve without ever being asked and yet they give their lives, right along side our soldiers.....
This story is, quite simply amazing. I call it Black Beauty for boys. It's beautifully written and shows both the best and worst of humanity. So well worth the read.
And while last, certainly not least....
The true story of Lucca, a search and rescue dog in Iraq and her trainers. Heart wrenching and honest.
These stories are what, to me, represent what Memorial day is about. They show the heroes that flag represents. If you want to honor them on Memorial day - REMEMBER THEM.... and never forget.