Memorial Day Commentary

‘The Debt I Owe’

By Christine June
Harrisburg A&PA

My father – a Vietnam Veteran – taught me well.

“You owe a debt of gratitude to millions of Americans who gave the ultimate sacrifice for all the freedoms you have in this life.”

I looked up at my father’s emotion-filled face and nodded, trying as hard as any six-year-old to understand what he was telling me.

Now – many years older than my father was at the time he first told me about the significance of Memorial Day – I am humbled by the bravery, sacrifices and selfless-service of my fellow Americans from past and present generations.

I served in the military for 20 years, but unlike my father’s and today’s generations, I did not go off to war. There were conflicts during my service, which I did support in my trained capacity, but I never looked into a gun’s barrel, heard the blasting of mortars or saw my comrades lose limbs and life on a battlefield.

But, many Americans today – generations after mine – have, and like my father, I am filled with such emotion…such gratitude for the debt I owe these young Americans. The enormity of this debt really hits me when I think of the grieving families – mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons.

I did not personally know these brave Americans and unfortunately, never will, but they selflessly afforded me the freedoms I continue to enjoy as I raise my daughter.

“You owe a debt – my sweet girl – one you can never really repay, but one you must always remember to honor as you live this life.”

I try to teach her well.

About armystrongpa

Welcome to the United States Army Harrisburg Recruiting Battalion. The “Steel” battalion is a proud organization dedicated to supporting the important mission of recruiting for “America’s Army.” Your assignment as a recruiter in the great state of Pennsylvania will be an extremely challenging and rewarding experience for you, both professionally and personally. With over 200 community-based professionals located in communities throughout Pennsylvania who share the same concerns as do all responsible citizens regarding the future of America’s youth. In particular, we want to help students stay in school, remain drug-free, be physically fit, and realize their potential to become productive members of society.
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