Five years ago on Memorial Day weekend I was running down Highway 200 in the rain towards Missoula, MT when a car pulled over and out stepped a rather large, imposing figure….really large in fact. He stood at the back of his car and as I approached and he began to speak I picked up on a thick Romanian accent. “I heard of you and knew you were coming. I wanted to come out here, find you and say than you for remembering. I lost a few friends on two tours and I appreciate what you are doing. I want you to know it was MY HONOR to serve YOUR COUNTRY.” And then he saluted. His honor….my remembering…I pondered that for many miles. You see he was a political refugee from Romania and had sought asylum and ultimately citizenship in the United States. He told me that he felt a need to show his gratitude by serving in our military to fight for the freedom he was afforded in this country. That is true patriotism.
With Memorial Day again coming up I will be traveling to Corona, CA for the Inaugural Memorial Day March which begins on Saturday the 23rd at 9 a.m. at Corona City Hall. It is a free event. Carry a flag and write a personal message on a tag attached to it. We will cover 2.8 miles to the Veterans Park then plant the flags in a giant USA Mural on the side of a small hill. Corona is a gracious and appreciative city and very Red, White and Blue. Memorial Day has a special meaning to each of us and we honor it in many ways. So take a walk, plant a flag for someone….remember friends, family and loved ones….See you on Grand Ave in Corona!!