In December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed, and President Clinton signed into law, the National Moment of Remembrance Act, in which Americans are asked to pause for a moment at 3 p.m. [on Memorial Day] to honor those who died in service to the United States.So, today at 3 p.m., I'll be thinking of Samuel Watts and all the other men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. As Mary Ann wrote on Memorial Day last year:
However you feel about a particular war or "conflict" . . . the important thing for a writer is to not allow the world to forget the men and women who believed in sacrificing their own dreams and lives in service to their country.Last year, Mary Ann wrote of the roles her parents and other family members played during World War II. Today, I'd like to honor and say thank you to my father-in-law, Emil Martino, who served as a sergeant in the army signal corps in World War II. I've known my father-in-law for over 30 years, yet it never occurred to me to say "thanks" until he was scheduled to participate in an Honor Flight. The Honor Flight organization transports veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices. The veterans are deeply affected by the experience, as can be seen in this videoclip produced by AARP: (Email subscribers can watch the clip on YouTube here.)
The families and friends of Honor Flight participants are asked to write letters expressing their thanks to these veterans for their service. The veterans then receive the letters during "mail call" on the flight home. I was surprised by how difficult it was for me to write that simple letter to my father-in-law, perhaps because I'm such a pacifist. But I was also ashamed to realize that in all the years I've known him, I'd never thought to say "Thanks" on my own.
|Photo by Rick Latoff,|
American Battle Monuments Commission
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If you haven't read Esther's Student Success Story Interview with Natalie Ziarnik about the publication of her debut picture book, Madeline's Light (Boyd's Mills Press), I hope you'll do so now and enter for a chance to win your own autographed copy.