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Over 60...And Getting Younger: May 31, 2012

After The Parades

After the pom-poms, the drums and the uniformed marchers have gone, we are left with our inner thoughts and memories.

Many years ago, my son Gregg and I went over to Pinelawn Cemetery on Wellwood Avenue in Farmingdale with a flat box of flowers. We placed these flowers on the graves of fallen servicemen. It was Gregg’s idea and I was more than happy to accompany him on his holy mission.

While visiting Washington D.C., my family and I visited the various war memorials. Each one had its own beauty and meaning. At the Korean War Memorial (1950-1953) we looked upon a monument featuring a company of infantrymen plodding through a Korean rice paddy with their rifles at the ready. The slabs of polished marble shone in the sun and simulated the water running through the paddies.

At the Vietnam Memorial, the simplicity of an onyx-black series of stones with 50,000 names inscribed was truly awe-inspiring. As we walked along the path, next to the monument, we saw a man with a box of expensive cigars. He picked out his Vietnam buddies and placed a cigar next to the stone with their names etched into them. He said, “These are the best cigars for my lost pals! I’ll be back every year to renew the smokes.” Very touching.

Another memorial worth visiting is the Iwo Jima monument. It is a huge, many-figured statue of the U.S. Marines planting the American flag on Mount Suribachi on the Pacific Island of Iwo Jima. It inspires a truly patriotic feeling that will run up your spine and thrill you.

On tour in northern France, the sight of thousands of Normandy Crosses is inspiring, and we thank those soldiers who died on foreign soil. Long Island also has many local memorials recognizing the valor of the men who gave their lives.

The USA has defended freedom all over the world and paid a heavy price in lives doing it. Let’s not forget these boys “After the Parade.”