I’m not sure when barbequing in the back yard became the official way to celebrate you on this day. I doubt that when you were overseas you thought “I sure hope someday people remember our sacrifice over a burger and a couple of cold ones.” Truth is, as we lounge in our lawn chairs with our speakers blasting the country music top 40 and our mouths full of cheetos we’ll probably find a way to complain about the mosquitos, the heat, and how much we’re dreading our return to work the next day. Truth is, we might use this day to prop our own feet up and tell ourselves “good job” for making it to another summer. The truth is… we might not think of you at all.
Well, on this Memorial Day 2009 I’m choosing not to let that happen.
Thank you Yeoman Raymond Hefner. I’m proud to tell the stories of your service in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, but even more proud to call you Grandaddy.
Thank you Sergeant Robert Gerald Vaught. You left a legacy and a mystery that I can’t wait to share with your grandkids someday.
Thank you Machinist Mate 2nd Class Richard Hefner for being one of the few enlisted men in Vietnam. Your courage is not forgotten.
Thank you Sergeant David McMillan for your years of service. While I don’t know many details of your military career, I know it was grueling just the same. Thank you for defending us.
Thank you Lance Corporal Patrick Hefner for serving in the marines and beginning a family legacy.
Thank you Sergeant Robert Gregory Vaught for serving our country in a very confusing and controversial time. The courage it must have taken to sit in a cargo bed on your way to an unknown location to do some unknown duty is one I’ll not soon understand but already admire.
Thank you Specialist Joshua Besong for packing up YOUR family and moving to an unfamiliar country to aide in keeping MY family safe.
Thank you Private Shawn Hefner for your service. You may have followed your father’s footsteps into the marines, but your deployment to Afghanistan shows an altogether different kind of courage.
Thank you Senior Airman David Morris for up and enlisting at the age of eighteen only to be shipped off to the coldest and most isolated state in our country. We hope to have you back on the mainland soon.
One last time, thank you. You are respected. You are admired. And you are not forgotten.