Remembering is Honoring

As I am writing this, it’s Memorial Day. To most of us, this is a day off work to spend with family and friends. We know the holiday is meant as to remember those who died serving our country, but do we really do that? Do we take the time and make the effort to do that? Do we realize how important this day is to those who’ve lost a loved one in service to our country? So many lives given for our freedom.

Today I’m remembering a young man I never met. Lloyd Wohlford, Jr. died serving our country in Vietnam on June 17, 1967. I learned about Lloyd when my uncle, Wayne Walter married Margaret Wohlford, Lloyd’s sister. From everything Margaret has told me about Lloyd, I’m sorry I never knew him. I also know the world is a much better place because of him.

Margaret describes her brother as a hard-working farm boy raised in Decorah, Iowa. She said Lloyd “always knew what needed to be done and the right way to do it.” When he went to Vietnam, he took those values with him.  When Lloyd and his buddies were ambushed, this farm boy did what needed to be done. He carried others, as Margaret said, “numbers too many to recall” to safety. After saving numerous lives, he picked up his weapon and returned to battle. That was when he was lost.

Margaret Walter, Doug Bishop, Chris Bolson, Lloyd’s sister, at the Vietnam War Memorial

For families of those who died serving our country and those who fought alongside the fallen, as Margaret said, “Memorial Day is not for those alive but for those we have lost.” It’s a day for remembering and to ensure heroes like Lloyd are never forgotten. We need to remember not only that heroes like Lloyd sacrificed their lives, but the legacy their actions leave behind. People are alive today because Lloyd Wohlford, Jr. was in Vietnam that day to save them. He lives on through them and everyone who remembers him.

As you read this, Memorial Day is over, but that doesn’t mean the remembering is. We have so many freedoms in the United States. It’s easy to take them for granted and forget how others fought and died for the freedom we enjoy. It’s true—freedom isn’t free. Many have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. 

If you haven’t lost someone close to you serving our country, ask someone who has to share memories of his/her loved one. When you see a post on a fallen soldier on social media, please share. Help keep that memory alive. We can never repay our debt to those who died for our freedom, but we can start with ensuring they are never forgotten.

Thank you for stopping by today. To be entered for the random drawing to win a copy of the Blessed wall handing and Home on the Ranch:  Colorado Rescue leave a comment. If you’ve lost a loved one serving our country, please share his/her story with us. I’d love to help you honor your hero.

 

Julie Benson
Julie Benson has written five novels for Harlequin American, and her Wishing, Texas series is available from Tule Publishing. Now that her three sons have left the nest in Dallas, when she isn't writing, Julie spends her time working on home improvement projects, rescuing dogs, and visiting Texas wineries with her husband. Visit her at www.juliebenson.net.
Updated: May 28, 2019 — 8:23 pm

36 Comments

  1. Such a heartfelt blog today. I personally do not recall a specific name for a fallen hero. I do want to comment that my Dad and my Mom’s brothers served. As did my daughter’s Dad and brothers. It was my Uncle Bud that was on 2 Japanese death marches. He came home almost starved to death and had many health issues due to his captivity. Thank you for remembering them one and all.

    1. Beautifully written. We have our freedom due to these list heroes. My late Dad served during WWll, sons, AOL and BIL also. We were fortunate they returned home. But it’s up to all of us to honor and remember them. Freedom is such a precious thing and it’s all due to these Heroes.

      1. Carol, I think once someone’s had a family member deployed or even in the military, it changes our outlook. My son was deployed twice to Kuwait and once where he couldn’t tell us where he was. Now, that was scary…Now when I hear of fallen soldiers I realize that could’ve been my child, and my heart breaks for the loss their family is experiencing. It’s so important to the family that we remember these soldiers. Thank you for your family’s service and for stopping by today.

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      I only have distant relatives that have died in combat and do not know their specific stories, unfortunately. One of my father’s uncles did go down in an Airforce plane but the incident was not during combat. He is still a hero in my mind because he was in the Airforce. It always disturbed me when someone in the family would say, “but he didn’t die in combat” if we didn’t need to have our men and women training and serving in other countries he might would still be alive today or at least have lived a long life. Thank you for sharing this blog because we all need to remember exactly what many men, women, and their families have sacrificed for us. I do have many uncles that served that were blessed to have returned home.

      1. Stephanie, I agree, your father’s uncle was a hero and he died serving our country. All those who serve make sacrifices. Even those deployed who don’t see combat miss out on family events such as holidays. They miss out on the birth of their children. They aren’t there to attend school plays, teacher conferences or help with homework. Those are very real sacrifices and time lost with family that they can never get back. Thank you for reminding us that everyone who dies in service to our country, in combat or not, is a hero!

    3. Jerri Lynn, thank you for your family’s service. What an ordeal your uncle went through. I don’t think we can begin to understand what individuals who are deployed experience. So many come back with issues and then face a lack of services and help. We need to stay on our elected officials to see our veterans are taken care of! Thank you for stopping by today.

  2. In my family going way back some have served, but none gave their lives in the line of duty. I can’t imagine what it is like to have a loved one in the military. I was too young to realize it when my older brother served. Idk I honestly don’t know how the kids and spouses do being apart for so long. And for some to lose their loved ones permanently is unimaginable. I am thankful to all of them….those who lost their lives, those who served and returned home and those that serve now. I am thankful for their hard work so that I can enjoy my freedoms.

    1. Sabrina, thank you for your comment. I think it takes a special person to be married to someone in the military because when one serves, the whole family serves, as the saying goes. Children of our military have grandpa with them on Donuts for Dads day at school. Wives may not have their husband with them for the birth of their child. For those who lose family members, I think they go on as a way to honor their lost loved one. But I agree, we can never understand their pain. All we can do is listen, share their stories and help the family left behind in any way we can. Thank you for stopping by and for your comments.

      1. Thank YOU, Julie! 😀

  3. Julie- beautiful blog.
    As Jerri said above, my Papa (Bud) was in Japenses prison camp for 3 1/2 years. He came home starved and near death.
    He’s always been my hero. I was honored to have him as a papa and he enriched my life so much.
    For all those who didn’t make it home from any of the Wars. I raise my hand and salute your memory and bow my head and send your family prayers & thank you for your service.

    1. Tonya, thank you for sharing your papa’s story. 3 1/2 years in a Japanese prison camp…the horrors he must’ve endured. That had to change him in ways we can’t imagine. I think that’s what we (society) don’t realize enough. What these soldiers often experience changes them and leaves them with long lasting issues to deal with both mentally and physically. The number of service people who commit suicide daily is staggering. We have got to do better by veterans. What they endured, they did so on our behalf, we need to ensure they get the care they need for whatever issues they have to deal with. Thanks for stopping by today and sharing your papa’s story.

  4. My father in law was injured in WWII and lived with the results of the injuries til the day he died. He did receive a Purple Heart which we still have to this day. A fellow classmate was killed in Afghanistan which was so heartbreaking he had been severely burnt when he was younger on his face that had left him horribly scared and then to die the way he did just still bothers me to this day

    1. Glenda, thank you for stopping by today to share these stories. So many of our service people are left with lasting issues, both physical and mental, after they return from combat. What a sad story about your classmate. We need to help keep his memory alive so others know what he sacrificed for our country. In that way, he lives on.

  5. Thank you, Julie. Such a beautiful reminder of the meaning of Memorial Day and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. May they rest in Peace.

    1. Sharon, I’m glad you enjoyed the blog. I think too often the reason for Memorial Day gets lost in the sales and family fun. Not that there’s anything wrong with those, but we should all take time to share a story of someone who died in the service of our country and pray for their family forced to go on without them. Thank you for stopping by today.

  6. I have many family members serve and been fortunate to have them all return home. I still honor them as they served.

    1. Debra, thank you for your family’s service, and I’m so glad they all returned home. We can never thank or honor those who served enough.Thank you for reminding us that.

  7. Such a wonderful blog post. I have several family members that served my husband and father to name a couple but they all came back. I know there are a lot that doesn’t and that is so sad. May they rest in piece.

    1. Thank you for stopping by today, and thank you to your husband and father for their service!

  8. I have not personally lost anyone. I had uncles serve in the army and navy during WW11 and my sister lost a boyfriend during the Vietnam War.

    1. Estella, thank you for your family’s service. How awful for your sister to lose her boyfriend in Vietnam. We forget how the loss of that young man changed the lives of countless others. It’s like dropping a rock in a lake. The rings ripple outward. Thank you for sharing her story.

  9. So near to my heart this year. I honored my dad on Facebook to bring attention to the meaning of Memorial Day. I have a soldier friend who dislikes “Happy Memorial Day” greetings, so he removes himself from all social media. He spent the day at Arlington National Cemetery instead honoring his fellow comrades. He has served our country well. Vice President Pence was there as well. For my part, I am going to buy flags for my garden at home to show patriotism, to stand up for our country. We should thank God everyday for our country and freedom, never forgetting the price men and women have ultimately paid to grant us this treasure. Thank you for your post today. I loved everything about it. God bless America.

    1. Kathy, thank you so much for your comment! I never thought about how we wish people a “Happy Memorial Day.” We really shouldn’t do this considering what the day means. It’s a somber day to remember those who lost their lives in service to our country, and as Stephanie said, I think this includes those lost in training exercises, etc. It isn’t only for remembering those lost in combat. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we turned Memorial Day into a day of service? Not all of us can serve in the military, but if we could serve others in some way in honor of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving…Wouldn’t that be an amazing tribute from those of us who haven’t lost a loved one? I know Margaret heard from comrades who served with Lloyd on Memorial Day, and that was what the day was meant to be, remembering those we’ve lost as your friend did. I tried to share posts I saw to help educate people on the true meaning of the day, too. Thank you for stopping by and for reminding us that we shouldn’t say Happy Memorial Day. We need to come up with something more fitting as a greeting.

  10. I didn’t lose anyone to war but my Maternal grandfather fought in WWI something he never talked about. He died in his late 70’s.

    1. Kim, my father served in the Korean War and never talked about it either. The only time he did was when one of my sons had to do a school project. It’s amazing what I learned about my father. I also realized how sad it was so many of their stories and experiences would be lost because they didn’t want to talk about it. For my father, I think it was his way of coping with what he encountered during war. Thank you for stopping by today.

  11. Thank you for sharing your beautiful post. My dad and my husband served our country. Every program we attend where veterans are honored, my heart swells. To the families of fallen soldiers, my heart goes out to them.

    1. Melanie, thanks to your dad and your husband for their service. We can never repay them for what they’ve given to our country. Thank you for stopping by today.

  12. What a great memory. My dad’s uncle would tell us stories of his time in the war and it was sobering. I want to thank every one who has made a sacrifice for us in this country!

    1. Susan, how wonderful that your dad shared his stories. Now those memories can be shared through you. As I said earlier, my father never talked about his time in the Korean War. We lose so much valuable history and knowledge when the stories aren’t shared. Thanks for stopping by today.

  13. When I was a young girl, I remember a man from church describing the events at Pearl Harbor. He had survived the attack.

    1. Denise, wow, I can’t imagine getting the details of such an historic event first hand like that! I’d love to hear what he said if you can remember. Thanks for stopping by today.

      1. He described the attack.

  14. This is a lovely post. No I have not lost anyone in a war. So I dont know the personal touch of this one. When my husbands mother was 10 yrs old, she remembers a man knocking on the door at 10pm delivering a telegram that her brother had just died from wounds in World War 2

    1. Lori, can you imagine being 10 and getting that telegram? I haven’t lost anyone in the service of our country, but Margaret’s posts/comments have opened my eyes. It’s up to all of us to ensure these heroes are remembered. We can listen to people’s stories of their lost loved ones, share them and share posts we see on those lost. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your mother-in-laws’ experience.

  15. Beautiful post, Julie! My grandfather served in WWII in the Navy. My Daddy served in the Army.

    1. Caryl, thank you for your family’s service. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.

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