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向最可爱的人致敬!

  读着这篇文章,很自然地想起了无数奋战在抗震救灾一线的战士们,他们有一个共同的名字――最可爱的人!虽然灾难无情,但军人们的无私付出和忠诚守护让我们坚信:我们一定可以重建美好家园!让我们向那些最可爱也是最可敬的军人们致敬!并祈愿他们健康平安!
   ――Maisie
  
  Memorial Day has always been a very special day to me. Whether camping with the family, swimming, fishing or preparing 3)BBQ for the 4)grill, I do my very best to keep the memory of my fallen brothers and sisters in the 5)foreground of my mind at all times.
  As a young 17-year-old boy going into the service of my country, I was not the brightest 6)bulb on the tree. Truth be known, I was a bit of a 7)basket case in severe need of psychological counseling. After
  almost two years, I was discharged from the United States Army as an “undesirable” individual. For some reason I just could not adapt to military life.
  I should have been prepared for military life, having spent my entire childhood in a very strict and regimented 8)Jacksonville, Florida, orphanage. If not that, then my two years at the Florida School for Boys 9)Reformatory in 10)Marianna should have certainly prepared me for such rigid training.
  “Freedom,” to me, had nothing to do with love or family. My mind was totally blank of what having a mother and a father felt like. I didn’t know anything about those types of people. The only freedom I was looking for was the right to get a drink of water or to be able to go to the bathroom without having to ask permission. Or being able to open a refrigerator and get something to eat when you were hungry (which I had never done before.) Just being able to do those things was something worth dying for.
  For years I was ashamed of myself. I constantly wondered why I had failed in my duties and responsibilities as a young boy. Why did I find it so difficult to help defend my country’s freedom? Now, at age 61, I can clearly see what I could not see when I was a young man.
  I was so proud of myself when I graduated from 11)boot camp at 12)Fort Gordon, Georgia. For the first time in my life, I had accomplished something of value. When the ceremony was over, thousands of soldiers ran off the 13)parade ground and into the waiting arms of their loved ones. Every
  soldier screamed and yelled with joy as they hugged, laughed and headed off to spend time with their families. Every one of them had someone to be proud of them.
  Within fifteen minutes everyone had disappeared into the distance. In the quiet, I stood alone on the large grassy field. Looking down at the one medal on my chest, I could feel the tears rolling down my cheeks. It was at that very moment that I realized that I had no reason to defend freedom. That freedom was not worth dying
  for unless it brought one a sense of happiness and security. I sat down in the grass, placed my hands over my face, and I cried. Not for myself but because I rea-lized that I had no one to die for.
  Today, as I look out my window I see my grandchildren running in play while smiling and laughing. I see no fear on their face or in their eyes. I can clearly see what I could not see back then. I now realize the sacrifice that a soldier must give. I now realize the sacrifice that I should have been willing to give so that others could be happy.


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  There is nothing I can do to undo my irresponsibility as a 17-year-old young man. The best I can do is to forever honor, with all my heart and the greatest of serenity, those who gave me and my family the freedom that we now enjoy.
  Not only on Memorial Day but every day of the year.
  
  
  阵亡战士纪念日对我而言一直都是一个非常特别的日子。无论是和家人一起去露营、游泳、钓鱼还是准备烧烤,我总是尽自己最大的努力把我那些已经倒下的兄弟姐妹们放在我记忆中最显著的位置。
  17岁时,我参军为国效力。入伍后的我并不是军队里最耀眼的一员。事实上,我当时精神濒于崩溃,极需心理救助。过了将近两年,作为美国陆军部队中的一名“不合需要的”士兵,我退伍了。不知什么原因,我就是无法适应军人的生活。
  我应该是早就为军人生活作好了准备的,因为我整个孩童时期就是在佛罗里达州杰克逊维尔市的一家管理非常严格有序的孤儿院里度过的。如果那样还不够,那么我在位于玛丽安纳市的佛罗里达少年管教所里度过的两年毫无疑问应该为我接受军队的严格训练打下了基础。
  对我来说,“自由”与爱或者家庭毫无关系。我完全不知道拥有父母是什么感觉。我对那些类型的人一无所知。我所追求的唯一自由就是――无需得到许可就可以自由地喝水、洗澡,或者饥饿时能够打开冰箱,吃一些东西(而这些我以前都无法做到)。在我看来,仅仅是能够去做那些事情就值得为之付出生命。
  多年来,我一直很惭愧。我经常在想,作为一个热血青年,为什么我在服兵役和承担应有的责任上如此失败。为什么我觉得参与捍卫自己祖国的自由是如此艰难呢?如今,我已经61岁了。我能够清楚地领会自己年轻时曾无法领悟的东西。
  当我从乔治亚州的高登堡新兵训练营毕业时,我十分自豪。在我的人生中,我第一次实现了某种价值。毕业典礼结束后,数以千计的士兵们跑出阅兵场,投入他们关爱的人的怀抱。当他们互相拥抱,开怀大笑,尽情地和家人一起共度美好时光时,每个人都高兴地尖声喊叫。每一个人都有以他们为骄傲的人。
  15分钟后,所有人都不见了踪影。周围一片静寂,我独自一人站在那片宽广的草地上,低头看着挂在胸前的纪念章,我能感觉到泪水轻轻地滑下脸颊。就在那一刻,我意识到自己没有任何理由去捍卫自由。如果自由不能给人带来幸福感和安全感,那么它就不值得人为之付出生命。我坐在草地上,掩面而泣,不是为自己,而是因为我意识到自己并没有可以让我为之付出生命的人。
  今天,当我眺望窗外时,我看到孙子们正在开心地笑着嬉戏玩耍,他们的脸上或者眼睛里没有一丝恐惧。我清楚地明白了过去我不曾领悟的东西。现在我认识到了一个军人必须作出的牺牲。我意识到,为了使其他人获得幸福,自己本该情愿作出的牺牲。
  对于自己17岁时不负责任的行为,我不能做些什么来弥补。我能做的最好的事,就是永远全心全意地怀着最大的敬意向那些捍卫了我和家人现在所享有的自由的人们致敬!
  不仅仅是在阵亡战士纪念日这一天,而是每一天!


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