Memorial Day means different things to different people.
For some it means a longer wait on the first tee at the club, or a picnic with family, or perhaps an outing to see the Atlanta Braves play baseball, and watch the fireworks after the game.
For others it means a trip to the nursing home or senior residence to see a mother or father.
But for a heartbreaking few it means a visit to a specific marker, located at the veterans cemetery, to have a few quiet moments with a lost loved one.
The dead in the veterans cemetery have no more pain. Not so for their families. The lives of the survivors left behind have been irreparably disrupted, changed forever by the qualifying trauma precipitated by the news that their loved one has been killed in action in a foreign land.
We rarely come in contact with these families, whether by design or by simple chance. They have been unwittingly marginalized in a society that would rather not deal with the aftermath of war, or who cannot come to grips with the colossal total cost of war.
But many of us feel that we should be doing something. But what? Or where can we begin to look?
There is a non-rofit organization that assists the families of marines killed in the line of duty. It provides educational scholarships, up to $30,000, for each and every child of a fallen marine. It provides financial assistance for medical care for the veteran when the Veterans Administration will not cover the procedure. It also covers plastic surgery and dental care of marine veterans through a network of caring physicians. They even provide Segway Human Transporters for challenged marine veterans. They have provided pediatric DOC Bands and cranial helmets when the government would not foot the bill. The organization is called the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Association. You can find it on the Internet at www.mc-lef.org. If you go to the Web site, be sure to read the last newsletter.
If you are a former Marine, or someone who just wishes to assist marine families who can use your assistance, please consider the MCLEF. It is a great organization.
Thomas W Lewis Jr.
A former Marine