Memorial Day Remembrance

Over Memorial Day weekend, Rene and I paid our respects to the over 6,000 Coloradoans killed in action and the hundreds of thousands of American troops who made the ultimate sacrifice over the years by attending the stirring “Colorado Remembers” event at the Colorado Freedom Memorial in Aurora.

I got to know my dear friend, Rick Crandall, and his amazing wife, Di (who calls me her “God Drop,” which I cherish), when I was involved with planning and initial fundraising for the memorial in the early 2000s. Rick is the founder and president of the Colorado Freedom Memorial Foundation, and Di is the memorial’s project manager. After years of sheer tenacity and grit, the memorial was built and dedicated in 2013, and it has become one of the most sacred places I know.

Private Milton Moravec

Amidst tears of humility and gratitude during the remembrance ceremony, I reflected on those who sacrificed and gave their lives for our freedom, plus the veterans who have been impacted in some way by their military service. Those veterans include my late father, Milton Moravec, who likely struggled with post-traumatic stress years after his service in the Army during the Korean War. I was reminded yet again that traumatic experiences like war, death, divorce, loss and illnesses like cancer leave emotional scars that seem impossible to heal. My sadness is steeped in the way trauma changes an individual’s capacity to reason, oftentimes erasing the individual’s ability to want to continue living.

This summer begins a year of commemoration to acknowledge the end of World War II 75 years ago. Only three percent of those who served during WWII are still alive, and I am grateful to them and the millions of others who have served their country with their military service. Maintaining world peace and order is a daunting task, and I pray that we human beings remain civilized enough to maintain that sense of order.

My special thanks to Angela Bye for sharing the amazing photos she captured during the “Colorado Remembers” ceremony, some of which are included with this post.

Rene and I recently finished catching up on the current season’s episodes of Seal Team on CBS. Seal Team is not a particularly popular show, but at times the writing is brilliant. Our favorite episode this season by far was episode 19 titled “Medicate and Isolate.” It featured parallel storylines about a former Navy Seal struggling with a previously undiagnosed traumatic brain injury (TBI) and an Army special forces captain who had been killed in Mali during a special operations mission. Bravo Team, the subject of the series, was tasked with bringing the Army Captain’s body back from the battlefield. At the end of the episode, the two storylines were completed as the song, Find the Cost of Freedom, by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young accompanied the video and faded to black in an emotional crescendo.

That show was powerful entertainment, and I encourage you to spend an hour of your valuable time watching the episode off the CBS website, then downloading the song. I guarantee you will be simultaneously proud of our veterans, yet distraught by the level of unthinkable bureaucracy they have to deal with as they attempt to receive much-needed physical and psychological care. Plus, you will wonder why the United States ever considered taking the A-10 “Warthog” close-air support aircraft out of service.

Colorado Freedom Memorial
book signing
May has been a special month for many reasons, including high school graduation parties and our heroic efforts to save newly planted flowers from snowstorms and freezing temperatures. But, thanks to a book talk and a book signing for The Unlikely Gift of Breast Cancer, I had the opportunity to meet many cancer survivors and caregivers for those impacted by cancer. Longtime friends and complete strangers stood in line to say hello and ask me to sign their books, then the tears started flowing when they explained how grateful they were that someone was willing to invite them to share their cancer stories.

Those two events finally helped me reach the understanding that my blog posts, book-related events, articles and publicity are invitations to gather, to share, to grieve, and to bond. We are waking up to the fact that long after the physical scars heal or we adjust to physical impairments caused by traumatic events, the resulting emotional scars flare up at the most unexpected moments.

On a brighter note, summer finally appears to be here to stay! Yep, in less than a month, we will celebrate the start of the summer solstice, when we will have the longest day with the most hours of sunshine. The day after that, we will begin to have fewer minutes of daylight per day as we head toward…oh never mind.

Thank you, as always, for listening.

To sunny days ahead,

June 4, 2019

Find the Cost of Freedom

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