(WFRV) – Memorial Day is meant to be a day of remembrance for military service members that lost their lives in battle and local veterans want everyone to remember the reason for the holiday.
“I have the need to give back something because you feel so guilty for having survived and your buddies haven’t, and you want to live your life, hopefully, like they would have lived theirs and you want to contribute,” said Larry Cavanaugh, the President of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 351.
Larry Cavanaugh is a Vietnam Combat Veteran living in the Fox Valley and he says Memorial Day is so much more than a three-day weekend to him.
“I’m gonna stumble around this earth here for 80 years or whatever and those guys only had a chance for 18, 19 years,” said Cavanaugh.
Wade VanRyzin served in Vietnam and did tactical crypto repair on communication technology and he said this day is set aside every year for us to reflect on why we have the rights and privileges we have as Americans.
“How do you say thank you to someone who gave their life for you? Just remembering them that one day is wonderful,” said VanRyzin, the Finance Officer of the American Legion, Post 38. “They should be remembered every day.”
For many veterans surviving the war is only half the battle, after returning home they face a whole new set of challenges and for many, survivor’s guilt is at the top of the list.
And that’s why these veterans encourage us all to get involved in honoring those lives lost in combat.
“Take a look at the Vietnam wall on the internet and pick a name doesn’t have to be anybody you knew or anybody that is related to but just remember them,” said VanRyzin.
“I urge you to attend the memorial day services at your local cemetery, pick out a few veterans gravesites, google them, get to know them, adopt them by putting flowers on their gravesites,” said Cavanaugh.