When I was a kid, Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day, a time for the nation to decorate the graves of war dead with flowers. Our country has been in numerous wars and millions of Americans have given their lives to protect our way of life. The Felix extended family lost one member in WW II - my mother’s cousin, Sherwood Racey. He was a land mine expert and while dis-arming a land mine in Europe the booby trap detonated. In his honor, my parents gave me his name as my middle name, Steven Sherwood. His name also lived on until last year when, at age 14, my dog Sherwood died.
My father, Manney Felix, was a WWII veteran and lived to the ripe old age of 92. When he was about 80, he finally opened up and told us moving stories of his experiences in the Army Air Corps, which were indelibly etched in his memory.
|Manney Felix circa 1941 (age 24)|
I was alone with my Dad when he first started sharing these reminiscences. He seemed relieved to tell them to someone. I was honored that he chose me. It was difficult, perhaps unfathomable, to even attempt to grasp what he must have felt while ‘over there’ – in some ways it was like understanding who he was for the first time in my life.
For many years after he returned from overseas, my Dad would frequently wake up – in a sweat – the result of having a bad dream about the war. And we all know, he was not alone. There are so many who deal with the psychological and physical repercussions of their valiant military experience…both the individuals themselves and the family and friends close to them. It remains a serious problem.
This morning I heard about an organization called Canine Companions for Independence that provides assistance dogs to war veterans (and others). Knowing how much my dogs have meant to me, it was great to read about this wonderful service. Here’s their website.
I’m making a modest donation to this group - in memory of both Sherwoods - on this Memorial Day weekend.
On Monday, Americans will physically or spiritually decorate the graves of those military heroes who lost their lives and we will remember their quest to resolve conflict. As busy as we are, it would be fitting to take a quiet moment on Monday to show our gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice made by so many on behalf of us, the citizens of the United States of America. No matter how complicated the world and our lives have become, we still live under a flag of freedom and enjoy the protection provided by our women and men in uniform.
Enjoy the long Memorial Day weekend and the freedom to choose how you wish to spend it.
Barry Ziering joined Guggenheim Partners as Managing Director
Paul Jones on announcing the formation of PL Jones Advisory Services
Ken O’Brien now with IPD as Executive Director and Head of the Americas
Laurie Romanek on the launch of Romanek Real Estate Investment Services
On The Road...
June 3 - 6: Client meetings, Chicago, IL
June 12 - 13: IMN's 15th Annual US Real Estate Opportunity and Private Fund Investing Forum, New York, NY
June 18- 20: Annual Conference of The National Association of Real Estate Companies, Charleston, SC
July 8 - 10: Client meetings, Chicago, IL
Summer, 2014: Tentative trip to London
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