The True Meaning of Memorial Day

By Lee Samuels

Our father Richard grew up on a farm in Virginia. So did his brothers James and Ernest. On weekends they played baseball.

Each served in World War 2. My dad spent 6 long years overseas. When he returned he and his brothers re-settled in a small town of Pennsville, New Jersey where we and our brothers and sister grew up.

None – Richard, James or Ernest – would speak about the horror of war. It was not mentioned by any of the three in our home.

My brother Ronald Lee liked to build race cars, like custom super stock drag racing cars which he would drive at Cecil County Dragway in Maryland. We would write about him when we worked for two weekly newspapers – the Pennsville Progress and the Penns Grove Record.

On Ronald Lee’s second tour of duty in Viet Nam he contracted Agent Orange. He was not the same person when he came home. He lost memory and wanted to be alone. He passed unexpectedly at a very young age. I am looking at a picture of him while writing this.

My wife Mary Margaret’s father Edward James McDermott fought in World War ll for seven years. Like my father he never spoke about what he had seen or did. Edward earlier played basketball at Temple University. He was a quarterback for a semi pro team called the Conshocken Bears. When he came home from the war he and his wife settled in a small town in Pitman, New Jersey. He was manager of a company called Nanette which manufactures baby clothes. He is unquestionally the best person I have ever met. He cared for others, helping those in need. We learned a lot from him how to respect others no matter who they are or where they are from or what they do.

Our son Ross is a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army. He fought in the Iraq Invasion. Chemical weapons were used to counter our U.S. troops. He saw things he never spoke about to Mary Margaret and myself. Ross and his family now live in Kansas.

These are examples of those who fought for our country and who gave us our freedom.

At our real job at Top Rank we travel to different countries. There is no place like the United States of America because we had men and women who fought for the most precious gift of all, our freedom.