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God bless our veterans

Posted: May 26, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 26, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

Pulled out the paper this bright Monday morning and started reading. Of course, I have my bagel with strawberry cream cheese, oat bran cereal and tall glass of orange juice at the ready. I know how to start my holiday day.

The paper has an Opinion page filled with wonderful writing. Of course, I always love reading Right About Now. Such intelligent prose. And so well written.

There are also other letters and columns. The ideas and concepts expressed often conflict and contrast. But each of the writers shares their wisdom (or lack thereof) in the way that each deems best. And, our Signal diligently prints these viewpoints.

I finish my breakfast, rinse the plates with clean water from Newhall Water, and go hop in my car. I need to run over to Ralphs and get some brats for later today. Maybe another bag of BBQ chips too.

I get onto the well-maintained road and safely navigate to the store. Everyone is polite on the road today. Must have something to do with all the flags hanging from the light posts.

Ralphs has what I need. Bratwurst. Don’t ask what goes into it. I think it’s pork but who really knows? But I do know that I can feed it to my family with little worry. It is safe.

I look around the market and see the abundance. Food is piled high on the shelves. Don’t likecanned corn? Try frozen. How about fresh? You choose. They have it all. You will not grow hungry.

I get home and start cooking. My nephew and his girlfriend show up. Then, my in-laws, outlaws, and outliers show up. My sons are here and brought along their buddies.

My wonderful bride is here too. She might not be if it were not for the skilled professionals at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital and Holy Cross Hospitals. The surgery wound is healing nicely andshe is beginning to recover her smile.

The laughter begins to rise as friendships are renewed and stomachs get filled. We gather here without fear and know that many others across our community are doing the same.

Did I think once about the cost of all this?

The cost.

The human cost.

My whole day from reading our beloved Signal to the laughter shared with my family in the backyard came at a tremendous cost. A cost that I can barely fathom.

Today, many families sit down with their hot dogs and look to the empty chair at the head of the table. A chair that was filled by a person who chose to serve the greater good and not just their own family. And they paid the ultimate cost.

My Uncle (not Earl) was 18 years old when he climbed the rope ladder down from the troop ship into the bobbing little landing craft. The ocean was heavy that day and the other boys were getting sick in the bottom of the plywood vessel.

Marines are tough and can handle any job.

On this morning however, these Marines were fearful and thinking of home. The rocky, volcanic island in the distance was heavily fortified and defended by fanatical troops willing to commit suicide.

But not a single Marine climbed the ropes back to the ship. They had a job to do and it would be done.

The landing craft left the safety of the troop ship and began its voyage to the beach. Joined by other littleboats, this miniature armada would be the hammer on the anvil of the rapidly approaching beach.

The big guns from the Navy had pounded the beach but had not done serious damage to the defenders. The rock and coral that made the island was almost as good as concrete. The enemy guns were ready.

The shelling began when the mini armada was a hundred yards off the beach and intensified as they drew closer. Uncle Jasper’s boat made it through the deadly barge and came to a halt in the low tide.

The landing gate dropped and the Marines charged off onto the beach.

Caught in a hail of bullets, most of the boys were cut down immediately. Including Jasper. At 18 years old, his life bled away on the coral sands of Iwo Jima.

Why do we think of such dark things on a day of festivity? Because “festivity” is not what this day is about. It’s the sacrifice that many have made so that we might be free.

God bless the men and women who have died in the service of our country. And, thank you to their families who gave so much to all of us.”

This column was previously published on Memorial Day 2013. Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita. He can be reached at slunetta63@yahoo.com.

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