Memorial Day from anyone else’s point of view, but a veteran, would not mean as much. It is easy to forget why it is a national holiday, between the backyard barbecues, and the pool parties, it is no wonder the truth gets forgotten. Veteran Staff Sgt. Luke Murphy tries his best to explain what it means to him. In an interview with CNN he tells his story of a fallen friend, and fellow soldiers.
Murphy explains to CNN that talking about Memorial Day is very hard for him, because he says the old veterans are always thinking about the guys that were lost. He goes on to tell the story of one of his pals that did not make it home. He says he remembers the sound of his voice, the things they did together, where they hung out when they were off duty. Remembering the happy times with him are so nice for Murphy, until the day he died comes to mind. Murphy remembers what he looks like, as clear as if he was standing right next to him. His young face, they all have young faces, they will never get old. They will always be young. Murphy remembers where he was when he heard the news of his death, and what his lifeless body looked like so hurt, and still. They were all so still, and hurt. Murphy remembers when he was told Sgt. first class Jason Bishop was killed. He heard the explosion, but Murphy did not know it was him. These are the memories from a veteran’s point of view, that make Memorial Day so hard.
Bishop and some of the boys used to work on their vehicles, when they were stationed in the States. He was a couple of ranks higher than the rest of the guys, so he probably should not have been hanging out with them, but he had the garage, the tools, and the knowledge. Murphy can remember his wife and son, who was only a toddler. Every time Murphy looks at his old Jeep, he remembers who actually did the work that it needed. It was not so hard to think about Memorial Day then. It was a happier time.
It was New Year’s day in 2006. It was Murphy’s second tour and he decided to go bug the guy with the paperwork. Murphy had the job, and the responsibilities of a Staff Sgt., but not the title. So he started picking on the guy, but he just looked down and said, not now Murph. The guy had a dead serious look on his face, and he asked if Murphy heard the explosion, in Iraq there are explosions all the time, but Murphy knew the tone. He was a mile away from it, and the blast blew the door off his vehicle. He said it was Bishop; Bishop was dead. Memorial Day is for Bishop now too.
It was not known until later that Army intelligence had located suicide bombers in the city; the helicopter got all but one. They set up a blockade to get the last one, which the crazy jerk tried to run, but Bishop stood at his post, and shot the guy when he was driving right for him. When Bishop got him he veered off the road, that was good, because there was fewer lives lost, but Bishop paid the ultimate price. Memorial Day is hard for the veterans.
By all means remember the hot dogs, the hamburgers, the lemonade, but this Memorial day please do not forget about it from the veteran Murphy’s point of view. Do not forget about Bishop, and have a hot dog for him.
Opinion by Katherine Miller-Chichester
CNN.com: What Veterans really think about on Memorial day
time.com: This the real meaning of the holiday
csmonitor.com: As Memorial day arrives, Americans plan “chill” vacations
Photo Courtesy of Jon’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License