SARASOTA, Fla. -- Today we collectively remember those who have died in service for our nation. But for those who have lost a loved one, the memorial is never ending.
"I would hope that anyone who has availability to, visit the cemeteries and remember their dead." Sarasota resident Fran Voege has been visiting Sarasota National Cemetery for the past three years. Her reason for coming is two-fold: her late husband Bob is buried there, and she loves helping others who have lost a love one. "It’s just sharing a wonderful experience…it's just a blessing."
She also feels everyone should know their history. "It's important for this generation to bring the children here and tell them what this is all about; not just say your uncle is buried there, but tell them about the sacrifices."
And teaching the next generation about these sacrifices is something Vietnam veteran Lenny Olson agrees with. "I wanted to show my son, who is here with me, how to pay your respect and to think of the people."
Navy veteran Woodie Brewer knows all too well about loss and sacrifice at a young age. His brother Donny was killed in action after five years in the Navy. "When he went to Korea, he flew in combat and was shot down when he was twenty-two.”
Brewer and his family received a telegram regarding Donny's death. "They didn't have somebody come to your house to tell you there was a problem, they sent a kid on a bicycle from Western Union with a telegram that said, in the first case, ‘your son is missing in action and presumed dead.’ And the second telegram said he is dead."
Brewer also has a recommendation for those saying ‘Happy Memorial Day’. "It’s like saying ‘happy funeral’. People who want to celebrate Memorial Day should say ‘have a reverent Memorial Day’, because it's not for people like vets who are still living, it's for the people who have passed away defending our country."