Our Memorial Day Issue
A Huge Thank-You to My Dear Friend, Jeffrey
While accounts of the official origins of Memorial Day differ, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, on May 5, 1868, just three years after the Civil War ended, Major General John A. Logan announced that the U.S. needed a national day of remembrance for soldiers who had bravely given their lives in honor of their country. After dubbing it Decoration Day, Logan declared that the holiday was to be observed every year on May 30 as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the dead with flowers.
Having my dear friend leave his home country to help keep our nation’s people safe gave me a whole new appreciation for what freedom, service, and sacrifice truly mean.
Since Americans all across the country will set aside time this month to commemorate the sacrifices made by these valorous men and women, I figure it is a great opportunity for me to highlight one of the bravest men I know, my dear friend Jeffrey who served as Electrician’s Mate Chief Petty Officer Wigley, Jeffrey D. in the U.S. Navy for 12 years. I understand that Memorial Day is meant to honor those who have lost their lives in battle, and while Jeffrey thankfully returned home after Navy service, his sacrifices still deserve to be honored.
Growing up, Jeffrey and I maintained a close friendship. His choice to serve in the Navy meant that he could no longer live near me in San Diego, but we still worked hard to stay in touch regardless of how far away he was stationed. Being active duty in the Navy means that Jeffrey never stayed in one place too long. Even if he worked on base for a prolonged period of time, he still had to go on deployment anywhere from six months to two years. This meant that Jeffrey spent a lot of time living in close quarters with up to 5,000 other sailors.
In addition to spending months out to sea, during his dozen years of service, Jeffrey did two tours in Iraq. I don’t know if this happens to others, but when I think about soldiers fighting in U.S. wars, my mind often races to battles of the past. But having my dear friend leave his home country to help keep our nation’s people safe gave me a whole new appreciation for what freedom, service, and sacrifice truly mean.
What makes his military career even more noteworthy is that while he was active duty and completing tours in Iraq, Jeffrey had a family waiting for him at home. He had to sacrifice valuable time with his wife and children, often missing out on birthday and holiday celebrations. His family understood his commitment to his country, but no matter how patient and compassionate they were during his absence, they still honestly and sincerely missed having him around.
During his second tour in Iraq, Jeffrey was injured, and when he returned to the states, he decided that his time in the Navy was finished. While Jeffrey is back home now, I know that I am not the only one who will continue to honor him for all he has accomplished in the name of our country. It is because of him, and other men and women like him, that we have the freedom to live lives that people in other countries only dream of. To Jeffrey and all the other members of the U.S. military, thank you for all that you’ve done and continue to do. Happy Memorial Day!