by Kimberly A. Cook (Twitter@ WarriorTales)
Next Monday is Memorial Day and many of us will be off work. In this age of Memorial Day sales and the rush out-of-town for a long weekend, take a few moments to reflect on what Memorial Day is really all about.
The Vietnam Wall at night on November 5, 2005, in Washington, D.C. The blue folder contains the War Stories I left there from my veteran writing students.
This national holiday was put into law to remember and honor the sacrifices of the men and women who died while in military service. It is also a time we can remember those who have served and passed on after war and peace. It’s also a time to honor and never forget those who never came home and are still Missing In Action or Prisoners of War, their fate never to be known.
Thumbing through the back newspapers from my vacation on Sunday, I came across an article that one of my former veteran writing students, Phillip Leveque, had passed at the age of 92. Phillip was a character in every sense of the word and never failed to entertain us all with his stories and brought tears to our eyes when telling the truth about his service during World War II.
He served with the 89th Infantry Battalion as a Battalion Scout and earned the Combat Infantry Badge. As he told it, “he walked from Luxembourg to near Dresden mostly under fire.”
In Oregon he is better known as the “Pot Doc,” a name he preferred to be remembered by as he introduced medical marijuana to Oregon and later lost his license issuing cards for users. In a news story in February of this year while he was on hospice he stated he was “very proud” that medical marijuana would be legal in Oregon this July, especially for veterans with level five and above PTSD.
It was an honor to coach Phillip for three years in my class and read his stories. Later he published his own book of war stories and I wish I had a copy. Life goes by quickly enough, so on this Memorial Day take a few moments to remember the men, women and military animals who gave their all to keep this country free.
Then go have a great picnic and celebrate the day in honor of those who are no longer with us. I know they are with us in spirit and would want us to play and have fun with family and friends, because those are the most important things in life after all. So raise a hot dog, beer or s’more in toast to them all on Memorial Day.
Those we’ve lost are watching from the true high ground and will be cheering us on. Land of the free, because of the brave.
Special Note: For all those now riding across the country on Run For The Wall to participate in Rolling Thunder in Washington, D.C. the day before Memorial Day, God Speed and ride safe.