Memorial Day and Memorial Day weekend has always been a time of reflection for me. When I was very young, it always involved a trip to the cemetery to place flowers on the grave of my grandfather E O (Manny) Harris. He lied about his age to volunteer for the Army in order to serve with my uncle, Russell Harris, in France during World War I.
Several members of the Gray and Harris families served in the military through the years. During WW II, my uncle, Raymond Gray, served under General Patton In his tank assault across Europe. His sister, Beatrice (Babe) served in the Waves, and my cousin, Max Harris, was a Navy gunner instructor during that same war. Cousin, Bob Curtis, served on the Air Craft carrier Wasp following the Korean conflict. During that same period cousin, Wayne Gray, was a member of the Army at Fort Leonard Wood.
I spent my active duty with the 101st Airborne Division, at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. My Army Reserve unit, 776 Quarter Master Company, Aerial Supply did weekend duty during the Cuban Missile crisis in 1962. Several months after release from active duty my unit, Headquarters Company, 502nd Infantry, was deployed to Vietnam. Several of my friends, and comrades were among the 58,000 plus who lost their lives in that conflict. As a result, Memorial Day had an even greater significance to me.
Memorial Day weekend 2015 changed the focus for me, and my family. Molly Gray, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend too many succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease ten days earlier. On May 30th, friends and family gathered together in West Hollywood, California for her memorial service. Many wonderful words of remembrance were spoken. Through tears and laughter we celebrated her life.
This weekend I still remember all those who served our country in peace and war making us a secure nation. My heavy heart still makes me recall that beautiful day of remembrance for our Molly, May 30, 2015.
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