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Readers share thoughts about Memorial Day
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Editor’s note: Chris Teicheira asked his readers to post  some of their thoughts about memorial Day.

• Pam Thiel Milligan: Memorial Day (and actually any Patriotic day) means so much to our family. Having a father that was in the Navy during WWII (Pearl Harbor) we were raised to be completely patriotic. And by that I mean to seriously love our country, respect our flag and be grateful to our Veterans for everything they have sacrificed for us. 

My father had six brothers — each served in the military. My Great Aunt Josephine Nesbit (on my mother’s side of the family) was a Lt. in the Army Nurse Corps and was one of the Nurses held prisoner of war, from August 1942 until the beginning of 1945. She and her former superior, Maude Davison, ran the Santo Tomas Internment Camp Hospital in Manila. “We reasoned that if we hoped to remain integrated emotionally, our first and primary duty was to carry on in our most professional capacity — that of nurses,” she said. “Not for one moment did we ever lose sight of the fact that not only were we prisoners of war in every sense, but also that we were U.S. Army Nurses.” (Dr. Elizabeth Norman describes her in “We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese.”) My husband, David, served in Korea and I have cousins that served in Vietnam, and nephews in Iraq and Afghanistan. (On Panel 31E, Line 67 you will find the name of my cousin John E. Thiel, who gave all at the age of 20, on the Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC.)

Yes, Memorial Day, and every day we are free, means so much to our family. My daughter performs our National Anthem with pride (and hand on her heart) at many events, not only in our city, but for numerous sporting events (including the 49ers and Sacramento Kings). Yes Chris, I am a proud American. I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices made for our country, and most of all, I am thankful and honored for my patriotic heritage during this upcoming Memorial Day and every day of the year. 

• Gloria Brewster Lowe: Memorial Day is the day we reflect on those who gave the most and left us with the most – our freedom. I thank you all.

• Jessica McLeod: Memorial Day to me is a day of remembrance and thanks to all my family members and friends who have served our country. I have found some extraordinary things in my grandfather’s personal effects from WWII. It’s amazing to look at these items and hear his voice telling me of his time overseas and how terrible Normandy was. In his 3 years and 2 months in the service he was promoted to 1st Sergeant and received the EAMETO Medal, Good Conduct Medal and WWII Victory Medal. Along with him, my grandmother’s brother, Kenneth R McKinnon, received a Purple Heart Medal. I’m unsure which war this was for though. My Uncle David R McLeod served in the Vietnam War. My other grandfather Ralph Cleghorn served in The Korean War and to this day still serves his country by participating in VFW Color Guard in parades, funerals, etc.

• Jessica Donges-Vaughan: When I was in high school I had the opportunity to spend an entire summer living in Washington, DC. While there my dad took me to the Vietnam Memorial Wall and I can still remember the feeling of sadness that came over me. So many lives lost fighting for freedom. We spent hours there just reading names, after he bought me a bracelet with a soldier’s name that had passed. I wore it for years because I was convinced it was the only way to show my thanks.

• Linda Jimenez: Memorial Day is a day of remembering those who served and lost in the wars and those who served and lost. It’s a time of remembrance of the freedoms they fought for. It’s also a day to recognize the veterans who are still with us and the sacrifices they all gave.

• Caroline Silva Silveira Wolfe: In the 60’s we lost classmates, friends & family in the Vietnam War. This is a day to remember them and thank them for doing what our country asked of them. My first husband served and these guys were not loved or respected when they came home. They should get it now!