Physical Therapy Doctor - May 2019


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May 2019


When I was a kid growing up in Middle Village, I’d march in the Memorial Day parade. I did it almost every year, from the time I was a Cub Scout through to my last year in high school, when I was an Eagle Scout. Our troop leader would give us the rundown on our marching order the day before, though he’d have a hard time getting so many excited kids to fall in line and actually practice. But on the actual day, marching down Metropolitan Avenue and seeing the cheering crowd and the red brick buildings decked out in bunting, it was impossible not to fall in line and march proudly with the rest of the parade. Even at a young age, I felt the sense of being a part of something bigger than myself. But still, even as a boy, I didn’t fully understand the importance of what I was participating in. I’ll admit, as a kid doing those parades, I was just excited to get my soda and hot dog at the end of the route. As I grew, however, I began to understand the gravity of what we were honoring. I largely have my grandfather to thank for giving me the perspective on why Memorial Day is about more than parades and picnics. Salvatore Russo injured his eye when the windshield of his army jeep shattered. He was not a front-line soldier, but on the muddy, bombed- out roads and fields of Europe during World War II, even supply lines were dangerous. Savatore, my grandfather, had been part of a crew sent out to find damaged tanks and other vehicles and help them limp back to base for repairs. These men’s efforts helped the Allies maintain momentum as they drove Hitler out of France. What Memorial Day Means to Me MORE THAN PARADES AND PICNICS

My grandfather never regained sight in that eye, but he’s still alive today. Getting to know his story as I grew up gave me perspective on the sacrifices our troops make to protect us. He was wounded when he was far younger than I am now, and he has carried his injury with him ever since. So many men his age weren’t that fortunate. So many men

and women in the history of our nation gave everything for the freedoms we enjoy today. It’s only fitting that we set aside some time every year to honor their memory and cherish the country they fought for. As I grew older, I came to realize just how lucky I am to have been born and raised here in the United States. My grandfather came from an

“So many men and women in the history of our nation gave everything for the freedoms we enjoy today.”

immigrant family and risked life and limb for his new country. After the war, he was able to settle down and raise a family, and he enjoys seeing his kids, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. If that’s not the American dream, I don’t know what is. So today, as we approach Memorial Day, I’m still looking forward to having a hot dog or two. However, I’m more aware of what it means to be able to spend this time in peace and prosperity with my family because of the brave men and women who made it possible.

Happy Memorial Day,

–Dr. Robert Morea

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