I have lost many friends and shipmates in the wars and police actions of the last 40 years or so. Saying "Happy Memorial day" is blasphemy to me. One of my forgotten Shipmates, GMG1 Robert "Red" Mills was killed on the USS Benjamin Stoddard, off the coast of Northern Vietnam in 1972 while the ship was in a gun battle with a NVA shore battery. The President, a lying bastard named Johnson, who trumped up a lie called the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, sent ships north of the DMV to engage the NVA. In any case, Red had a foul bore and HOT GUN, and in trying to get the MK 42 5"/54 Rapid Fire gun mount back in action, it exploded, killing him and three others.
He has been on my mind for quite a while and I decided to call his widow. She remembered me! We talked last night and had a great reunion. She made the best of his death by going to college and becoming a teacher. She taught for 30 years and then retired!! It did me good to talk to her and it did her good to be remembered.
Red never got any heroism awards. His name is on the Vietnam Memorial and his widow and sons were provided for, as they should have been. But Memorial Day is much more than picnics, and a day off to me. It is a day to remember those who gave the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE for our freedom!