I don’t know anyone personally who has died in the line of military duty. My mother, who graduated high school in December of 1940 (Pearl Harbor had just happened and all her friends were going off to sign up for the military. She couldn’t because of her polio affliction.
She told my how personal Pearl Harbor was because she did know people who died there — and how personal Memorial Day has been to her because of her friends who died in WWII.
My dad was in the Army in WWII, but never saw action. His brother, my Uncle Bob, was in (army I think) who did fight in the Korean conflict. Uncle Bob’s son, my cousin Bill, was in the Navy during Vietnam. And my brother Jeff was in the Coast Guard.
I was in college during Vietnam — and remember listening to the last draft drawing…..the year I was eligible. They would draw a number (1-365) and then a birthday date and that would become your “Draft Number”. My number was 365, which meant that, if I were to be called up, I would be in the “last line of defense”. I had friends who moved to Canada or who stayed in college (you weren’t drafted while you were in college), but I would like to think that I would have gone had my number been drawn. I did not volunteer.
So I wasn’t military and don’t know anyone for whom Memorial Day is about, but I respect and admire those who have fought and died to gain and protect our freedom.