Memorial Day mostly focuses on those that lost their life so that we might live. But to me it has a different meaning, it is an opportunity to honor every person alive or dead that has put their country above their own personal needs to protect our freedom.
Our young people here in the US, and the young people across the freedom loving world that are willing to place themselves in harms way deserve great credit and respect. The pay is awful, the work hours worse, and the working conditions deplorable.

Memorial Day tends to reflect on fallen heroes, it should not, it should celebrate every young man and woman that has represented their country.

Take a look at this picture taken in the 1920’s.


The little kid on the left was William Augustus Barrett. He was just a happy young man. He had no clue that less than 20 years later he would be part of WWII. World War One had been the war to end all wars. His father Frederick Barrett had lost a leg in that conflict. War was a thing of the past!

William Gus Barrett did not shirk his responsibilities when WWII erupted. He joined the Navy. He wasn’t much of a fighting guy, but neither was he one to dodge his responsibilities. I’d love to tell you that Gus earned many medals, but he didn’t. He just did what was asked of him. He didn’t much like to talk about the events, but I do know that on more than one occasion the boat he was on was hit by torpedoes. I still cannot understand why a kid that (until the day he died) never learned to swim.

Gus somehow made it through the war, his one and only injury being ‘friendly fire’. He was too slow loading a shell into a gun and got his thumb trapped. It left a nasty scar, but Gus did not lose his thumb.

The world is full of Gus Barrett’s. They are not well decorated with medals, they are very much the Unknown Soldier, but without them every war you can name would be lost!

This Memorial Day please give a thought to those, alive and dead that do so much for us.

Simon Barrett

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