Georgette Frank's son Lance Cpl. Philip Frank, 20, was killed in Fallujah by sniper fire on April 8, 2004. She wrote this essay on the real meaning of Memorial Day.
In the past I would look forward to Memorial Day. It represented the beginning of the summer season at the Jersey Shore and a three-day weekend.
Then we lost our Phil in Iraq.
Memorial Day has now become a day of reflection and remembrance. It is a day to remember all of our Fallen Heroes from all of the wars. It is a day to think about the families that will forever grieve for their lost loved one. It is a day to be thankful to those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice. They fought and died to win the freedom and democracy that we Americans cherish so dearly. They also fought and died to bring that same freedom and democracy to the people of other countries as well.
As the family of a Fallen Hero, we are so proud of our loved ones who knowingly put themselves in harm's way so that they could make a difference in the lives of others.
I would like to share an excerpt from a sermon by John Hagee:
"I want you to close your eyes and picture in your mind the soldier at Valley Forge, as he holds his musket in his bloody hand.
"He stands barefoot in the snow, starved from lack of food, wounded from months of battle and emotionally scarred for the eternity away from his family surrounded by nothing but death and carnage of war. He stands though, with fire in his eyes and victory on his breath. He looks at us now in anger and disgust and tells us this. ...
"I gave you a birthright of freedom born in the Constitution and now your children graduate too illiterate to read it. I fought in the snow barefoot to give you the freedom to vote and you stay at home because it rains. I left my family destitute to give you the freedom of speech, and you remain silent on critical issues, because it might be bad for business. I orphaned my children to give you a government to serve you and it has stolen democracy from the people.
"It's the soldier, not the poet, who gives you the freedom of speech.
"It's the soldier, not the campus organizer, who allows you to demonstrate.
"It's the soldier, who salutes the flag, serves the flag, whose coffin is draped with the flag that allows the protester to burn the flag!
"Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. I ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen."
Take a moment this Memorial Day to share the pride that we, the families of the Fallen Heroes, feel.