Hey folks, it’s Jonathan Bowen with Hub Edge Realty. How are you? I’m here at Evergreen Cemetery in Stoughton, Massachusetts. Behind me is Route 138 and on the other side of Route 138 is Town Spa Pizza; it’s pretty famous around here. So today is the Sunday before we observe Memorial Day and I’ve kind of been thinking about Memorial Day, you know, more this year than ever before and I just wanted to get some of my thoughts out to you. So, you know, first my story… I was, I served in the, with the Navy Seabees, transferred over to the Army National Guard, the Massachusetts Army National Guard, I was with 101st Engineer Battalion in the Chelsea, Bridgewater and Newburyport armories. Served, I started off as an enlisted person in the Navy as a Constructionman Apprentice in the Navy Seabees and then I was a Private First Class in the Army Corps of Engineers and then I went to OCS, Officer Candidate School, down at Camp Edwards and got my commission, went back to the 101st Engineers so this was from 1993 until 2000 and, I don’t know, I went on this thing called IRR, Inactive Ready Reserve, so I don’t actually know when my, I forget when my, you know, discharge date was but it was after September 11th so, so anyway… Why didn’t I stay in the service? Because I started selling real estate in 1999, I had a listing on Antwerp Street in Milton and I had to go and, go up to Fort Drum for 15 days with the Army National Guard and I had told my clients, I said “Listen, I know this has been a very difficult sale, I know that there are a lot of things going on but I have a commitment I have to leave with the Army National Guard for 15 days”. This was before cell phones were so prevalent, I had one but, you know, the the coverage and in the woods of, you know, upstate New York, you know, obviously I didn’t have any cell phone coverage so, so, you know, it was very very difficult, I got back to the office, I worked at Jack Conway in Milton back then, my office manager, Ron Scott, sat me down, almost fired me because my clients were really upset and I don’t blame them because selling your house is so important, it’s really one of the most important things that’ll ever, that you’ll ever do in your life so, so, you know, I had to make a decision at that point what I was going to do you know, I did commit to doing one weekend a month and 15 days a year, that one week in a month, I’ll never, was on a holiday weekend, so you got to realize that, you know, if there was a holiday that month it was cutting out two weekends of open houses for my client so that’s really, you know, the reason I got out of the service, I regret it some days, I don’t know, you know, I’m still, still have a lot of thoughts. So I still have a lot of friends who I served with, Eric DiNoto is, I believe, I haven’t spoken with him in a while, but I believe he’s still in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, we, we went to OCS together, he went overseas. John Pitt, he’s with the Indiana National Guard, I was with him at Engineer Officer Basic Course out in out in, at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and he, he’s doing great, he’s a Lieutenant Colonel in the Indiana National Guard, he just finished a battalion command so, you know, I, I’m so happy for everybody who I’ve served with and people who I’ve, you know, I don’t know what happened, I’ve served with so many people over the years, I mean, I don’t know what happened to really any of them. So, so Memorial Day, why, what is Memorial Day? You know, Memorial Day is not, we’re not celebrating anything, although I’m really happy to talk about the people who I served with, we’re not celebrating anything because Memorial Day is a date of remembrance, we’re remembering the people who have died in service to our country, protecting our country, so there’s no “Happy Memorial Day”, it’s really nice to have a family barbecue, maybe people have some drinks, but we’re really, you know, people, you know, the reason for this is a remembrance, okay… Veterans Day is different, people sometimes get Memorial Day and Veterans Day mixed up. Veterans Day is the day for people like me, people who have served, you say, “Hey, you know, Happy Veterans Day” or, you know, “Thank you for helping and thank you for serving”. That’s the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. A lot of people get them confused, okay? So, you know, I, my family has a long history with the military, my father served in Vietnam, he was in the 9th Infantry Division, he was you know at Fort Riley, Kansas for a while he, before, you know, he was deployed over to Vietnam, he was a heli… helicopter repairmen and I think about my father because, you know, there were 50,000 plus soldiers and sailors and basically service members who died over in Vietnam and, you know, this, I was born in 1973 and, you know, this is, you know, he was over there before I was even born so I’m lucky to even be alive standing here talking to you because I’m a miracle, we’re all miracles, you know, you know my father easily could have been killed and he told me a story one time, he was up at the top of a helicopter fixing the rotor and bullets started whizzing by his head and he jumped right off the top of the helicopter, I mean that’s, you know, that’s 15 feet, you know, whatever it is, 20 feet, jumping off the top of the helicopter, you know, that’s serious business. He told me awful stories he, you know, he never told me these stories until after I served in the military, told me stories about picking up guys, and I know you don’t want to hear this, picking up guys’ guts and putting their brains back in there, you know, I mean, he, that was part of his job, he had to go into these battlefields and pick up the wounded and the dead so, I mean, my dad has seen some real real real terrible, awful stuff. I’ve had uncles and au.., not aunts, excuse me, uncles and cousins who have served, I have a cousin who’s in the Air Force right now, I’ve, you know had family members serve in all the different branches. So, you know, my part of my story, the closest I’ve ever gotten personally to war was on September 11th, obviously, my, you know, 2001, I was a newly commissioned Lieutenant in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, I was living in Sharon, Massachusetts. I had all my TA-50 I don’t think they call it TA-50 anymore, but I had all my TA-50 and I was ready to go, I was ready to you know go down to Ground Zero, is it was later called, and I had two things that, you know, I had my heart and my head. My heart said “Hey, go, go go go go go”. My head said, “You know, you’re just a First…” you know, (garbled speech), I forget if I was a Second Lieutenant or a First Lieutenant at the time, “You’re just a Lieutenant…” I mean obviously I had the the castle on my collar, this was engineering, I mean, this is what we did, you know, we blew stuff up. I hate to even say it like that, Jesus, excuse my French, but, you know, you know, this is what we did. We, we, you know, so anyway, we, I decided, my head said to me “Do not go because they’ve got plenty of people down there, you’re just going to cause more chaos, there is nothing for you to do down there”. Um, so that was, that was my thinking at the time. Do I have any right to even go down there because there was no direct order from anybody telling me to go down there so, could have I even gotten in trouble for just going down on my own volition? I don’t know, I don’t, I still don’t know those answers, you know, I, who knows, you know, so that was the closest I ever came, you know, I of course I you know I know that 101st Engineers went over to either Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11th but I had already, you know, I had to make a decision, you know, what am I doing here? So, so that’s my personal story. I have not served overseas, you know, you know, do I regret that, I don’t know, you know, I’m no hero. I would like to be a hero but, you know, I’m just a regular guy and all these other guys are regular guys too, guys who have served and guys who have died, you know, so I guess really the, how has Memorial Day touched me most directly? Well, my daughter, her great-grandfather on her mother’s side is a guy named Captain Charles E. Higgins and he was in the Army during World War II, and he went over to northern France a few days after D-Day and he was killed in battle right outside of Saint-Lô and because of that my significant other’s father, Charles Higgins as well, he’s not a “Jr.”, he just left today, he’s 75-years-old, he just left back to Cleveland today and he never had his father, you know, he was a very use of tiny baby and his father had been killed over in, over in France so, you know, think about that, you know, not having your father or your mother, you know, I just, you know, breaks my heart when I think about not only him but, you know, all of these other people who have lost family members throughout, throughout all of these wars that we’ve had, you know, and it, it just breaks my heart so, yeah, and I guess it has directly affected my daughter in some way, she probably never would have met her great-grandfather but who knows, you know, who knows? So I just want you to take some time and think about, even if war has not touched your family directly, most people you see around here, it has, you know, it has touched their family maybe not this generation, maybe not the generation before that but most likely war has touched your family and the people who have helped to defend this country, two or three generations, four generations, World War I, you know, the Civil War, there are so many, you know, people who have died trying to help this country. So that’s all I would like to say to you. I appreciate your time, I know I get long-winded, so thank you, okay? Thank you to all the families who have lost loved ones and, of course, thank you to the people who have served, although, as we said, this is not the correct, I don’t think it’s wrong to say that either but, you know that’s all I have to say. Listen, thank you very much for watching this and enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend, I hope you have some fun, but you take a few minutes, maybe come by a cemetery, I mean, like I’m doing here now, you know, that’s it. Thank you so much, have a good day okay. Bye-bye.