HONORING OUR DEAD                [5/31/2021] [FERNANDO J. MILANES, MD]

HONORING OUR DEAD                     5/31/2021

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“He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front. He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come.”

― Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

I have delayed these words about the meaning of Memorial Day, to wait for the many that arrive from beaches and parties where they enjoy what is NOT a festive occasion, or a celebration.    It is a day of mourning.    Today we remember the many that gave their lives in order to allow the rest of us the opportunity to enjoy ours.    Kids, look at yourself in a mirror and look at your friends having a “great” time.    

Then at least join them in remembering the fact that many of your age’s existence was cut short because they participated in an action for love of Country, even with little understanding of the motive.    Look at the picture.    That is a reflection of kids your age sunbathing at the beach.    Look again!    No bathing suit or cap.    He is not sleeping, he is dead.   

 It could have been you or others.    The least we can do is to take time off pleasures and give thanks!    Go to Amazon and watch the movie “All Quiet in the Western Front”, or read the book by Remarque.    By doing that simple task you will feel more pleasure than whatever you take to get high.    And while doing this, also pray for the “living dead”, or war torn Vets that will forever be tortured by the horrors of seen friends killed, and killing others.   

 I know.    I spent 20 years of my life trying to help these magnificent humans.    In this age of division, jealousy, and anger they continued, even through their suffering, to be positive and to grieve and be proud of their actions.    And if you come from a family of Cuba, also feel for your compatriots that gave their lives for our country.    I was lucky to stay alive, but continue to mourn for my very good friends that did not survive.

Fernando J. Milanes, MD

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