It’s never a happy day, yes there may be outward smiles but inside there is a sense of loss, a memory and thoughts of what might have been. It was over 60 years ago we were little kids in Buckley School, we played tag and ran on the playground. It was the 1950’s and sometimes we walked home for lunch.
The years are long but the memory is crystal clear of the day Keith and I walked to the top of Barry Road and Keith challenged me, “race you down the hill” and with that he took off. I was tall and thin with a long stride, Keith was short but solid and fleet of foot. I gave it all I had but I never had a chance, I remember thinking, “I wish I could run like that”.
As I think back and remember, “run” was not a word to associate with Keith. When we picked our teams Keith was a kid you wanted on your side. You knew Keith would cover you, he would have your back, and Keith would stand his ground. His hands were as quick as his feet.
We walked different paths, but I never forgot the race down the hill, I never forgot the kid that would not back down. Now I reflect how well his choice to be a Marine fit his personality. He was tough, he was strong, and he was determined.
When I hear the National Anthem or see a Marine I think of Keith. I think of how young he was, I think of hopes and dreams, I reflect on life and what he sacrificed. As the rain falls today I will think of tears of sadness shed for Keith and all our fallen soldiers. Memorial Day, is to honor and remember those that gave their last breath in service to our United States.
I will go back to Buckley School today, I will view a memorial for my friend Keith. I will bow my head, and say a prayer. The tears that roll along my cheek may look like drops of rain cascading off my face but I will be remembering. I will remember he never had a chance to live out his hopes and dreams.
I will remember Keith and I will remember his family. I will remember his mother. There has always been a special place within my heart for Keith’s mom. She suffered and endured greatly for our nation, she lost both a husband and a son in service to our nation. She will be remembered.
I will remember Keith’s siblings, and the heartache of emptiness that his passing has left. I will remember because I can never forget my friend, Keith Allan Miller. I can never forget what he and his family lost in Vietnam on September 7, 1967………………rest in peace, Keith.