Tradition draws my family and me to Oakwood Cemetery in Rockford, Minnesota every year for the annual Memorial Day celebration. This year, 2017, was no different; Memorial Day is also the day that a good share of the town of Rockford lines Bridge Street for a small town parade that concludes in the cemetery. It was during this parade that Randy E. caught my eye. I noticed his hat had the Purple Heart symbol on it, I also noticed a little dog poking its fuzzy head out from Randy’s jacket. I knew I had to approach him to see if he would be willing to be my subject. I could see in Randy’s caring eyes, his proudly worn hat, and a wonderfully trimmed grey haired mustache that he would be a great subject for Serve #27.
I asked Randy why he served. He said without hesitation that it was his duty to his country. I then asked him about the Purple Heart award and he shared that he was wounded in combat while being a part of the infantry. He also shared that he has residual effects of Agent Orange as well as working through PTSD which still affects him to this day. The little dog that I mentioned before helps him work through the hard times that PTSD brings on.
I am always blown away by people who have served in the United States Armed Forces in times of war. I am especially impacted by those that have been awarded the Purple Heart. I think what touches me the most is that these individuals’ lives brushed death in a battle and in some foreign country when they were young adults. I am honored to be in the presence of a Veteran like Randy as I knew I was standing in the presence of a great man who served his country well. He sacrificed for our freedom, and the freedom of others. There is amazing power in that last sentence that is easily looked over. So I want to say it again. Randy sacrificed for our freedom and the freedom of others.
Thank you Randy!
Give thanks to someone who served today. They are all around us!