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Remember Those Who Have Served America

Updated on April 5, 2015

Golden Gate National Cemetery

Golden Gate National Cemetery
Golden Gate National Cemetery | Source

Clouds Of Though

Where have the young men gone?
Where have the young men gone? | Source

Memorial Weekend

The start of summer vacations, graduations and Memorial Day. There are rumors of warm weather throughout the US, but not near San Francisco. San Francisco Bay area is typically cold and breezy the end of May. Memorial weekend is a time for remembering, memorializing those who have died to make America great, but does anyone plan to do so.

Throughout the week I have been making airport runs, dropping off friends and family leaving for graduations, Here I am at S.F.O. on Friday morning looking for some way to kill time before I need to pick up my husband. Golden Gate National Cemetery is close to the airport. I never realized how this trip would change my life as I walk through history.

I haven't been there in years. Every year we went to this cemetery on Memorial Day when I was little. I am surprised so much of the place is exactly as I remember.

Until 1969, May 30th always found my dad driving my grandma, brother and me to the Golden Gate National Cemetery. My grandfather was buried there. In August 1970 we followed a hearse carrying grandmother to her resting place there too.

Grandfather was a German immigrant who joined the Colorado Infantry First Regiment in 1897. He fought in the Spanish American War. Until I started to write today I had never thought much about what my grandfather sounded like. He would have had a German accent. Yet he fought for the United States. Dead 9 years before I was born I know very little about grandfather. Today, I ponder the lives of men and women like him, who are represented by these headstones. I think "My grandfather came to the United States to be free. Fighting for freedom was an honor". There was no doubt that he loved America. He married a native born Californian and taught his children to love America. He may have even watched his brothers go to war. (I have a picture of his family; he would have had brothers military age during World War I.) My great grandfather forbid German to be spoken when World War I began. His family was American and they would speak English. Grandfather sent both his sons into World War II. He lived just long enough to see them both safely home.


Sometimes, remembering must be done

Sometimes, stories have to be told.

Sometimes, tears need to flow.

Sometimes, so others will know.

God Bless America

Ways To Commemorate Memorial

  • Fly the American Flag from your porch.
  • Place flowers on the grave of a soldier.
  • Attend one of the ceremonies at your local cemetery.

San Joaquin National Cemetery

I think about our plans for the weekend. Monday there will be services at the cemeteries to commemorate those who have died. At the Veterans of Foreign Wars building there will be a dedication of the new wall that memorializes veterans who served their country.

I was looking for my parents bricks some weeks ago when a man and his wife approached,

"Have you found who you are looking for"?

Looking down at the bricks at my feet I replied "Just, Frances"...

"Did your mom ever have anything to do with the VFW.


Looking at her brick he said, "She was my vice commander".

I thought he looked familiar.

"Did you know that the national cemetery in Gustine is there because she pushed hard for it".

He went on to tell me, "The Golden Gate National Cemetery was nearly full; a new site was needed. We were looking at some locations when an Italian Immigrant, who loved his adopted country very much, wanted to do something to honor America. He wanted to donate land. He came poor and acquired lots of land and wanted to give back to America. The other sites being considered were expensive. You mother was determined we were going to build the cemetery there".

Did mom know there were other wars brewing?

She lived to see two more begin, but not the day her grandson graduated from boot camp with top honors.

Do you have any family members who have served in the United States armed forces?

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Mom was always looking down the road thinking of what was needed. She had two sons, a grandson and a son-in-law plus herself that would need final resting places. I still chuckle at the day I accidentally discovered she didn't buy a plot for herself when dad died. Dad died unexpectedly years before. She considered having him moved to Gustine, but it was too costly.

She said, We will be in heaven together so, why do we need to be buried together".

The other sites being considered were not big enough. They were nearly in the middle of a town as it was. Gustine was out in the middle of cattle country. It was free,a gift of love, from a man who valued freedom. He felt those who died for freedom should have the very best. Mom did too.

She was interned Jan 5, 2006 in San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, Gustine, California. Maybe someday we will learn how she earned her silver stars. She was a nurse with Mac Author's forces in the Philippines, Australia and New Guinea.

Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier Arlington National Cemetary

Changing of the guard, Tomb of the the Unknown Soldier,  Arlington National Cemetery
Changing of the guard, Tomb of the the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery | Source

A solider keeping watch over the fallen soldiers and sailors of the United States in Arlington National Cemetery. In Washington DC the history of the United States unfolds in this cemetery. There are presidents,generals and people nobody ever heard of; all of which proudly served this country,The United States of America.

Love Of Country

My parents had a fierce love for their country. My great uncle died in WWI. My parents and their siblings fought in WWII . My oldest brother was intelligence in Europe during the cold war. My next brother fought in Vietnam. I can't imagine what it must have been like for my folks when he was in Nam. I was a basket case in the 11th grade while my brother was in Vietnam. I learned how to cope with deployments from my parents and sister-in-law. It has come in handy again and again as we have sent loved ones to war the last 10 years.

The summer four of my son's classmates from BUDS were killed was awful. The next summer when the helicopter went down with lots of SEALs aboard my son couldn't even talk about it. A friend was investigating the Wikipedia leaks to determine if that information compromised their mission. He asked if my son could help. He wouldn't. What he said about the possibility of of them dieing because of security leaks can't be printed.

Many soldiers are still in harms way; they are family, or friends, deployed and in danger. Remember them.

Remembering Our Wounded

Vietnam Vet
Vietnam Vet | Source

Remembering Our Wounded

I never take pictures of people when I intend to publish, but I cried when I realized this man was a Vietnam Vet. His salute straight,crisp and alone. There were many people gathered in groups with family and friends at this Memorial Day Ceremony.. Here he stands. Alone. Like the day he came back from war. Wounded without a scratch. Brother came home from Vietnam; Dad didn't recognize him at the airport. The Vietnam war wasn't popular. The servicemen and women treated with disrespect

War isn't popular or unpopular.

War is Hell,

Those who fight wars defending the United States of America are just ordinary people. Unlike religious warriors, Americans fight for freedom. Americans show up when nobody else does.

Yesterday, coming home, a guy rode up on his bike and parked it next to the freeway on ramp. My husband said, "He's going to pull out a homeless sign". He did. The sign said "Disabled vet".

Then I saw his arm. He upper arm was scarred tapering to a mangled lower arm and a partial hand. He wasn't an old man. I can't stop thinking about him. Fisher House helps veterans and soldiers who are recovering from battle injuries. The radio host talked about Fisher House.all day. God bless those who remember our wounded.

Flags For Each Grave

The Boy Scouts Of America had just finished  placing American flags on each headstone when I got here.
The Boy Scouts Of America had just finished placing American flags on each headstone when I got here. | Source

God Bless America And Those Who Made Us Free

God bless all those weary and weak when they came; Welcome.
God bless all those weary and weak when they came; Welcome. | Source

Abraham Lincoln Said It Best

The last part of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address eloquently honors those men and women who died to make us free.

...from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

If you know a military family encourage them. Invite them to dinner. Call them. If you can, slip a gift card or a twenty dollar bill into their pocket. Give them hugs and pray for them if your a praying person. If you see a soldier tell them "Thank You for their service". It is so little for those who have given so much.

show route and directions
A markerGolden Gate National Cemetery -
Golden Gate National Cemetery, 1300 Sneath Lane, San Bruno, CA 94006, USA
get directions

B markerSan Francisco International Airport -
San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Francisco, CA 94128, USA
get directions


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    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 4 years ago

      Talk about the most amazing tribute to veterans everywhere ! Right here ! the way ,I would have cried too my new friend .........Ed++++++

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Dear shiningirisleyes, Thanks you for reading. Sorry I took so long to

      answer. Remembering and knowing the stock you come from makes you stronger and less likely to repeat passed mistakes.

    • vox vocis profile image

      Jasmine 5 years ago

      Wonderful hub! Patriots who died for their country and their people have to be honored and remembered.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I can not tell you how stirring this was for me to read. The goose bumps were very active. This is a write you should be very proud of. What an interesting and upstanding heritage you come from. Your Grandfather sounds like and amazing man, who stands with many others such as your dear Mom. I am such a huge WWII buff. What interested me about it was the endless accounts of bravery and the proud and brave generation they were. Just like the individuals you have written about in your poem.

      I thank you, with a pride for my country as well as pride for this write.

      Awesome and sharing

    • BJC profile image

      BJC 5 years ago from Florida

      tirelesstraveler, you're so right, the day in November last year when he graduated was an emotional day - the ceremony was incredible. thanks for your words.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      BJC, A Navy dependent for three years, my loyalty turned from my parents Army to the Navy. Blessings. I have never been so proud as I was the day my son graduated from boot camp at Great Lakes the same place his father was staff for a couple of years before we were married, Best of wishes to your son.

    • BJC profile image

      BJC 5 years ago from Florida

      What a hub! All of us need a reminder to remember all the sacrifices that people have made. I remember growing up in Europe and hearing about this place called "vietnam" not having a clue as to what or where it was. When I married and came over here later on, I became truly aware of the disgrace that was given to the Vietname Vets. My younger son recently joined the Navy and will be working on computers for the subs - so again, thanks for a great hub. Didn't mean to prattle on.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      stars439-Thank you. I just wish my mom and dad could have been around to see it. I was a bratty kid. My mom lived to see me outgrow it, but I was 23 when dad died and still somewhat of a brat.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Wonderful, beautiful hub respecting the soldiers. God Bless You dear heart.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      LuxmiH You are one of my hero's. Children going to war is hard on a mom.

      billd01602- Thanks for stopping by.

    • billd01603 profile image

      billd01603 5 years ago from Worcester

      Very good Hub. I enjoyed it.

    • LuxmiH profile image

      Luxmih Eve-Lyn Forbes 5 years ago from Fort Pierce, Florida

      This was such a well rounded, touching article.

      Surely every American life has been touched by someone who is or has served in the military? My husband was in Viet Nam and we have two sons who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, just to mention a few overseas posts.

      It was good of you remind readers that those who serve are ordinary people. Ordinary people who are faced with extraordinary duties. Voted up and beautiful.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Thank you, agusfanani.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 5 years ago from Indonesia

      I agree with the saying that a big nation is that who respects its heroes and founding fathers and you've shown that in a touching way in this beautiful, interesting hub.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      catgypsy thanks for visiting.

      tillsontitan- The buttons are bursting off my coat with pride. Mom was in her late 30's when I was born. I didn't have a clue just how amazing a women she was until well into my adult years. When I would explain to her the facts of life she would say to me, "I don't know how I survived without you. I did have a life before you were born". What a life indeed.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Vallur- You are indeed a treasured follower. Thank you.

    • FGual profile image

      FGual 5 years ago from USA

      Great story. My family is not affected, but I feel so sad yet proud for those that made our freedom possible. The sooner they come home from our current senseless war the better. My heart goes out to the wounded, they are an inspiration.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Billy, One of our beloved friends, who found God in a fox hole, used that line till the day he died.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain"...this hub helps to keep their life and sacrifice alive. You have a lot of information in this hub and all of it pertinent for the weekend. I have to add you must be so proud of your Mom, and the rest of your family for that matter. Voted up and awesome.

    • catgypsy profile image

      catgypsy 5 years ago from the South

      A wonderful and touching hub. My grandfather and my father were in the service and it is so important for people to remember. Voted up and beautiful.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      A great hub. Soldiers are heroes who fight to save the country. They are brave warriors. Without soldiers where will we be. They fight so that we can live in peace and safety. They are true heroes. A wonderful hub and a great tribute to soldiers. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A great message and one that needs to be repeated often. I still remember the stories from my dad, a veteran of favorite was a short one-liner about believing in God...he said "there ain't no atheists in a foxhole."

      Wonderful hub!