Memorial Day remembrances will take place all over the country this weekend, and few of us will take the time to give much thought to it.
I too have been lax in paying public tribute to the fallen this weekend, but I know the sacrifices that made by those who serve our country in the military. My father, Carl F. Karst, paid the ultimate sacrifice in Viet Nam, now more than 40 years ago.
His story is found here.
During the time he was in Viet Nam as a pilot in 1967 and 1968, Dad sent about 25 audio tapes and dozens of letters from his duty assignment in Plaice Viet Nam. Here is an excerpt from a tape my dad sent home in 1968 about the course of the war at that time. This part of the tape describes the Viet Cong’s Te offensive.
The sacrifices our military men and women make are not only the very real sacrifices of putting life and limb on the line in service to the country, it is
also the sacrifice of being away from home and family for months at a time while still desiring to be engaged in family life. In this same tape, my dad used the reel to reel audio to encourage 9-year old Tommy to work on bringing up his math grade (“A ‘C’ means you have done just enough to get by, and you can do better than that.”) and advice about the pinewood derby (“The axles are the most important. Don’t worry too much about the whittling.”)
For me, having sometimes considered a week long business trip a hardship to be endured, I am reminded how tough it would be to be in the position of serving our country half a world away. I pay tribute to all those who know the meaning of that sacrifice in service of our country today, and for all of the fathers, mothers, sons, sisters and brothers who have reconciled in their lives the past sacrifices of loved ones who served both country and family in the best way they could.