Memorial Day is a U.S. federal holiday intended to honor the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Since ancient times many different species of animals have also served bravely. While I deplore the need for war, I am deeply moved by the efforts of the animal heroes who have served alongside the human warriors. A few of those animals have been officially recognized as war heroes.
One of my favorites is Able Seacat Simon, honoured after his death in 1949 for his efforts while serving on the HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident. Simon continued to dispose of many rats despite near fatal injury by shell blast (keeping the limited food stores safe for the crew was a very important job – my cat Manitou salutes him). And I salute the ship’s doctor who took the time to treat Simon’s injuries despite not having a veterinary background. While in recovery, Able Seacat Simon also helped raise the morale of other injured human soldiers by visiting with them in their bunks.
Unfortunately not all the animals who serve are honored, or even cared for after their services are no longer needed. In this moving video A Soldier’s Best Friend Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald speaks out on behalf of a change in policy for all military dogs. Sgt. McDonald fought to adopt his dog Layka, who was two when she was shot four times at point-blank range by enemy forces in Afghanistan. Despite her injuries, she attacked and subdued the shooter, protecting her handler, and other members of the team. Read more about what life is like for the soldiers and their War Dogs, a feature article from National Geographic.
This Memorial Day take a moment to appreciate the beauty of spending time with loved ones, and say a prayer of thanks for all who have served and are serving.
A WILD WAY TO HEAL
In private practice since 1996, Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic practitioner, author and artist. As an animal shaman she views her mission as one of building bridges between people and animals through healing sessions, classes, ceremonies and events such as A Walk on the Wild Side: Answering the Call of the Wild.
Her book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism features heartwarming stories about animals and their role in her evolution as an energy worker and shamanic healer.
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