I like the gungrams from my friend Charlie Cook. For today he has something a little different for him.
Memorial Day is to honor the ultimate sacrifice of those who served our nation in the armed services. Traditionally, it is used to honor those who died while serving. That said, I think we need to honor those died at a later date – even a much later date – from wounds and diseases they contracted while serving.
What brings this to mind is that I had a client who died two weeks ago. He had developed heart issues later in life related to his exposure to Agent Orange while serving in South Vietnam. I knew him as a nurse but as a teenager he had been given the choice of juvenile hall or the Army. He used his brother’s birth certificate to join the Army at 16 and ended up in the 1st Air Cav. He came home after serving more or less in one piece. He did leave a finger tip in the Ia Drang Valley but that’s another story. The discipline the Army instilled served him well as he got his act together, went to nursing school, became a registered nurse, and had a long career. However, Agent Orange was lurking in the background and his days in South Vietnam came back to take his life in the end.
It is he who I will be thinking about on this Memorial Day.