Memorial Day is the "unofficial beginning of the summer", a time for fun and relaxation. It's a great holiday but it does have a purpose. Since the 1800's there has been a specific day to commemorate U.S. men and women who died while in military service. This is Mike Cifuentes. He was my little brother in the co-ed service sorority we were in in college. He was a fun-loving, funny, social man that was involved in ROTC as well as other activities. He was very serious and very intense when it came to his training.
At Homecoming 2004 I ran into him and we were able to catch up. He was in grad school, was still active with the military and was dating a great woman. A few weeks later I got a voicemail from him that he had proposed and was engaged. Later we found out that his company had been activated. He left school and went to Iraq to serve our country.
On August 4, 2005 we found out that several people from his company, Lima Company, had been killed by a roadside bomb. And Mike was one of them. This man with everything ahead of him was gone.
I know while Mike is very special to the family and friends that loved him, he is just one of the tens of thousands of brave men and women that have signed up to protect us. And one of the thousands that didn't come home. That's what today is about. Those thousands, the millions from World War I and II and the other wars and "conflicts" throughout our history.
I think about Mike often and I give thanks that I knew him. I give thanks for the men and women in the military. Pray for peace and be safe.
I miss you Mike.
Photo by Laura Burling