For the past, let's say 44 years, I've been aware that 'Memorial Day,' 'Armistice Day,' or better known in my family as, 'Decoration Day,' was also my parent's wedding anniversary. This past Sunday, 29 May 2011 would have been my Mom and Dad's 57th Wedding Anniversary. But this year's celebration was different, as many of you know, because on this anniversary I joined my family to bury my Dad who passed away on 9 November 2010.
The event took place yesterday at the Bent Cemetery just outside of Bryant, Wisconsin roughly 8 miles northeast of Antigo: all of my family members were present for the occasion.
Given my Dad would be cremated after the Mass of Christian Burial, my family had extra time to get the burial rites in order, including the installment of his headstone which was set in place last weekend. From the moment of Dad's dying, we all realized that his burial would take place on his wedding anniversary / Memorial Day weekend.
It's ironic that many of my family members were surprised to learn that Dad had served time in both the Navy and in the Army; thus two flags accompanied the American Flag! Dad spoke very sparingly of his time in the military; having fought in the Korean Conflict, I am aware that Dad experienced many encounters that would remain within the silence of his heart until the day he died.
Today my family and I give thanks and praise to God for those who gave their lives in service of this nation -- those who paid the ultimate price for freedom (which is never really free) and those who returned home to quietly live with the reminders of war's effect on the world. We are also in gratitude for those who currently serve our nation in equally provocative ways.
Service to the United States Navy and Army: two more reasons why John Andrew "Jack" Baraniak is a hero in my mind and heart!