Memorial Day, as the name suggests, is about memory. Or, perhaps more accurately, it is about not forgetting.
Not forgetting loved ones or friends who died while defending the nation. Not forgetting what the stone markers in the military cemeteries at Santa Nella and Arlington and Normandy and all the others represent.
Over the years, I’ve written about people whose relatives – sons, daughters, husbands, wives, sisters and brothers – now rest in such places.Perra worked with Tom Hillier to create an exhibit as the only Modestan killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor
“Before she died, I promised I’d do everything within my power to bring my brother back to American soil,” Roy Cabral told me in 2006. They’d just received a call from an Army official who told them Richard’s remains were among those handed over to the United States by North Koreans in 1993, had finally been identified, and were headed home for burial on U.S. soil. The official later visited them in Ceres.
“This is a celebration, in a sense,” he told Roy Cabral, brother Ron and younger sister Joanne. “It still doesn’t take away from the fact there was grieving back then (in 1951), and there will be grieving at the cemetery. (Richard is) going to get the same honor as if he were a soldier who died in Iraq today. We’re just running 50-something years late in bringing him home.”undertaken the daunting task of matching a photo to every Californian who died in that war
She will be the keynote speaker Monday in the Memorial Day ceremony at the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.
“It’s more of a day of respect now, like Easter or her birthday,” her sister Beatriz Lopez told me a year after they laid her sister to rest. “We go out there and let her know we’re still with her.”
It’s been that way for virtually all of the families of the nearly three dozen Valley and foothill residents who have died serving the country since 2003.
They see Memorial Day as a time to reflect, to miss, to shed a tear and to remember the one they cherished and lost. And they hope others respect the fallen by not forgetting.