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Memorial Day Thoughts

Donald Vautrinot grave

 

This weekend, most of us will enjoy the fact that we have an extra day to relax, work in the yard, or even clean out the DVR.  But, please do take a little time to think of your relatives, neighbors and friends, who have sacrificed time, safety and in far too many cases, their lives, in defense of our country and protecting us all from harm.

 

Several years ago, my sister, painstakingly pieced together, in chronological order, letters between my father, his 3 siblings and parents.  The letters began during the Great Depression and spoke of challenges and the day to day events of a wholesome, close knit family.  When the war broke out, my father’s older brother went off to naval flight school to become a pilot.  My father went off to Yale’s V-12 Naval Officer training school.  Their quiet town life was replaced with the harsh realities of a world at war.  The letters about catching fish or swimming in the Adirondack Mountains were replaced with prayers for safety and updates on relatives or acquaintances missing or dead.  In one letter my grandmother wrote of my father’s cousin Donald, who was missing in Bataan.    The Japanese forces attacked there on December 8, 1941, after Pearl Harbor.  Donald had only arrived there a month earlier, with hopes of becoming an aviator.  He died a few months later in a prison camp, after enduring the Bataan Death march, where 60,000 – 80,000 Pilipino and American POWs were forced to march nearly 70 miles under severe conditions of abuse and random killings.  The Bataan Death March was later classified as a war crime.  Donald was only 23 years old.

 

I relay this somber story because, throughout our country’s history, and today, Americans have and continue to heed the call of duty laying down their lives in defense of our freedoms.  Please do enjoy this weekend. But, take some time to think of these heros and be thankful for the good fortunes we have realized due to their sacrifices.

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VP of Business Development Northeast Region

 

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