“Memorial Day – More Than Just A BBQ”


Seems like a lifetime ago. Nearly 40 years have past since my friends and I began a Memorial Day ritual. We would gather on the morning of Memorial Day, pour a glass of whisky and toast our friends  and comrades in the military – both living and not. The years march on. Places change. So do the faces, but the ritual survives. Memorial Day, 2005 was the last time I tipped a glass to my comrades. I was getting my work-up for a heart transplant. I was so sick, that even my beloved ritual at last fell.

Now, Memorial Day is upon us once again. I have my new heart, and I have resumed most of my day to day activities. So – what of my Memorial Day ritual this year? I no longer drink. After a moment, it occurs to me. Memorial Day isn’t about drinking, picnics and BBQ’s, although many would disagree. No, Memorial Day is a time for reflection.  A time to think about all of those brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives, fighting for our country.Pray for those who have given their lives, and for those who will, one day do the same.

My ritual is the same as it has been for many years.  I will not recite a toast, but I will be  saying a prayer. I will not be getting drunk, but I will share a meal with friends. Different actions from years past, but the sentiment remains. God Bless all of my fallen comrades, and protect those who bravely serve today.

Brian M. Hayden, MSgt, USAF, Retired

Introduction to “A War Remembered”


Brian M. Hayden

One poem from “Five Short Stories and Twelve Poems”

Copyright © Brian M. Hayden 2012

I have spent many an hour on bar stools, talking with strangers, whom are not strangers at all. I do not know them, but I am familiar with the stories they tell. Many veterans spend time in bars, reminiscing about the glory days. Those days spent in the military. I too have spent many, many hours doing the same thing. All of them, me included were looking for just one thing: acknowledgement of services well provided. In the ‘70’s, it was harder. Viet Nam laid a bitter taste for military, in all of its forms. Many who served have never experienced the one on one “thank you” or even an approving glance. Still others cannot bring themselves to talk about it.

 Yes, I have spent many years in military service and lost many friends and acquaintances along the way. I wondered, when the shadow of their existence fades, will their heroism be remembered?


A War Remembered

Battle scars of pink and grey – some I kept, some went away

The mark of the proud and flag of the brave – The scars that we wear, follow us to the grave

But who will remember when signs of war fade

The lives that were lost – the good-byes that we bade

We will, say I with a smile at the bar

I will my friend – just show them your scar.

Brian M Hayden Logo1

short stories final Brian Hayden


  1. Thanks, Brian. There will never be an end to the need to remind us all. Unless we learn from the past, we will be caught there forever.

    • You are right Richard. It is up to us the writers of the world to keep reminding everybody else.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *