Our 2006 visit to Anzio & Nettuno has forever changed how I think of this important day. Now this is the image that will always fill my mind on Memorial Day.
Later in the week, we were at market day in a small un-touristed town in southern Puglia. Upon learning we were Americans, an elderly gentleman pulled his shirt off; and grabbed my hand to have me touch the scar from the decades old gunshot wound on his chest. He wanted me to thank the family of the Americano Dottore who saved his life, although he had no idea who he was.
Then I remember my encounter with Piero, the bicycle shop owner in Gubbio, who told me about how the American soldiers were his protectors and idols during the war.
So, whatever we may feel about our government's motivations behind this war in Iraq we must remember this: In 50 years, there will be people who are also remembering the kindnesses they experienced from American soldiers.
There will be an old man with wounds that didn't kill him because an American doctor in camouflage saved his life.
There will be a 60 year old woman who can read and write, and owns her own business because when she was a child, my brother, Sgt. Johnson, gave her a pink Hello Kitty backpack filled with school supplies packed by kids her age here in America.
In a time when it is so politically incorrect to support this war, please don't forget today to reach out with support and thanks to one of our warriors.