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May 31, 2010


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Today I am not remembering my eldest brother, who lies under a military marker. I remember him nearly every day – sometimes just by glancing in the mirror, so strong is the resemblance between us.
Rather, I am remembering the Gulf Coast of our long ago youth. He took a trip South to Mississippi as a teenager in the 1960's, driving until he and his companions ran out of roads at the Coast near Mobile. I have yet to visit that area of the country, so I treasure the stories I heard of the adventures he had on that trip. The area still seems exotic to me, because of those stories. Now, due to current events, I have a renewed interest in traveling there, and intend do so in his memory.

I am also thinking of my nephew, Glen, who is being trained as a Navy Medic, and will deploy with a unit of Marines within the year to one or the other of the current wars. The thought of Glen in danger is almost enough to make me, an atheist, pray for his safety. Rather, I will trust in his training, the brains he inherited from his parents, and the belief that his family is resilient enough to face however he comes back.
But I will also send him a letter, and chat briefly about the Navy Medic I heard of (on NPR, today) who insisted his unit of marines learn basic first aid training, so that if he were ever severely wounded, they would be better able to tend to each other. And how his foresight saved several of the lives in his unit. Frankly, I hope this will not be news to my nephew, and that such training is now SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).

Since I refuse to ever wish an oxymoronic “Happy Memorial Day” on anyone, I will only hope that you had a “Good Memorial Day,” however you chose to spend it.

Thanks for reading.

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