Today’s Memorial Day, and it’s a day I never, ever let pass without giving honor where honor is due. When we have a three day weekend and we’re having cookouts and going to the beach and the pool and hitting up all the Memorial Day sales, I think it becomes very easy to forget what this day is really about. Memorial Day is honoring those who gave their lives in service to our country.
Hundreds of thousands of men and women have served in the name of our country and lost their lives because of it. Some during their service, and some (arguably the lesser thought of group) after their service. My mom falls into the latter category.
For those of you who are maybe newer to this blog, my mom, Lynda Van Devanter (Buckley) served as an army nurse in Vietnam from 1969-1970. Her memoir about her time in Vietnam, Home Before Morning, was the inspiration for the 1980s show China Beach. When she came home from Vietnam, she was not thanked, she was not applauded, she was not honored. In fact, she was spat upon, called a “baby killer,” had trash thrown at her, and more.
She saw the horrors of war and she spent the next 30 years of her life devoted to serving and bringing attention to veterans… especially women veterans.
She died in 2002 due to a systemic collagen vascular disease (that’s the short version) she contracted from her exposure to high levels of Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam. She died in service to her country. It just happened 30 years later…
I regret that I didn’t spend more time asking her about her service while she was alive. I wish I’d listened more. I wish I’d asked her questions and I wish I’d thanked her more for all she did. I didn’t do enough of that.
I miss her everyday. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and that I don’t wish she were here… so I will always do whatever I can to remember her and share her story with anyone who will listen.
Below is a clip from the HBO documentary Letters Home from Vietnam. I actually just found this clip (I didn’t realize it was online before.) The first letter read in this clip is a letter written by my mother (voiced by Kathleen Turner). The images at the beginning of the clip below are of my mom as well…
I am so thankful that I’ve been able to find a lot of these pieces of history over the years… clips from documentaries, pictures, news clippings, etc. I’m thankful that I’m able to hold on to these pieces her legacy and be able to remember her…
Hold on to your loved ones. Hug them. Tell them you love them. Ask them questions. Never, ever take any moments for granted.
And, if you know of someone who has lost someone who served our country… thank them. Honor them. That’s what this day is about.
Happy Memorial Day, everyone. <3
Welcome to Let it Shine…..the new, revamped Funday Monday! After two years….we decided to rename our link up to something we felt would be a better fit. Thus, Let it Shine! Why the name? Because we want this link up to be just that…..your chance to let it shine. We’ll be sharing our favs here each week and on social media……
Another place we will be showcasing our favs? The Let It Shine Pinterest Board