Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

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Today is Memorial Day, a day to remember. It is a day special to me because my grandfather, Papa, died only a couple days shy of Memorial Day five years ago. Since Memorial Day was founded to remember our lost soldiers, it is fitting that I will always associate the day with him.

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My grandfather, Taylor Cogar, served in the army during WWII under general Patton. I remember the first time he ever talked to me about the war. I was in the 9th grade and we were to do a report on a WWII veteran. My mom suggested my Papa (her father). I was so nervous, but I called him (he lived in NC and us in SC.) He talked with me about some deep things, even more than the details of war, what it meant to him to be a part of it. It was one of the moments that changed my life. We spoke on the phone for almost two hours. It took several days to really process it. I remember making an A on that assignment, but more importantly it was the first adult lesson my Papa taught me about what it means to be there for others, to lift others up (sometimes literally) and to fight for what you believe in.

Papa and I in 2000 on Spring Break at Myrtle Beach
My Papa died the year Zoey was born. I was sad that he never got to meet her, but I know that he loved her, just as he did me. I learned a lot about life and who I wanted to be by listening to my grandfather's stories. He was a man who loved his wife and stood beside her through health and then sickness. He loved his country and believed the best in people. He was generous and kind, always helping out others before they had a chance to ask. He loved God and believed in the power of love.

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I am thankful to many people who loved me and taught me how to live. But it seems that on Memorial Day, when everyone talks about remembering our lost loved ones, I think of Papa. I believe part of that is because he died so close to Memorial Day, but also because he taught me the most about what this day really means.

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Thanks to Papa, I have absolute respect for anyone who puts on a uniform and serves our country with honor and dignity. I thank them for all they do, for all they sacrifice and for all they stand for. I thank them all for they all gave some and some gave all.

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Thanks to Papa I know the power of comradery. I understand that sometimes it is harder to live after watching those you love die around you. I thank all who truly lay down their life for their country. There is nothing more honorable.

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Happy Memorial Day!

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