Memorial Day Flash Backs

The memories of her years in the armed forces always seem to flood Gerrilyn Mitchell’s mind each Memorial Day. As she closes her eyes and recalls the many faces of the men and women she trained with and learned from, the Connecticut native can’t help but to feel blessed.

“Memorial Day is always a day of reflection for me,” Gerrilyn noted. “It’s a time when I think about my time in the military and the people I met. I can still see their faces so clearly in my mind. They taught me so much and I’m thankful every day of my life.”

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Gerrilyn Mitchell pictured as a young soldier, Private First Class, at the very start of her service.


During her 2 years of active and 6 years of inactive duty, Gerrilyn was stationed in U.S. cities and in Germany. Several of Gerrilyn’s military comrades went to war and those who did live through active battle still carry with them the weight of survival.

“A friend of mine went to war and did 3 tours,” she said. “You carry a weight with you after that. Those who survive carry ghosts around with them. It’s not easy.”

When Gerrilyn was a little girl growing up in both Connecticut and later New Orleans, Louisiana, she never had aspirations of joining the United States Army. Life had other plans, however, and to secure the education she dreamed of, Gerrilyn joined the armed forces.

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Snow on the ground at USAG Baumholder Army Base in Baumholder, Germany in 1990


“Joining was purely impulsive. It helped solve an issue for me,” she added. “But in the end, it actually changed my life. It helped me to become who I am today. I realize now that it was my destiny and my path.”

Now, Gerrilyn, an Administrative Assistant supporting a department with hundreds of Associates, credits her time in the military for her organization skills, her persistence and her ability to meet deadlines. As she sees glimpses of her previous military training now in her everyday life, she feels that the memories of the heroes she met along the way hold a special place in her heart.

“They really were heroes to me,” Gerrilyn said. “When I think about what I’ve learned and the people I’ve met, it means so much to me on Memorial Day and every single day. I will never see these people again, but I will never, ever forget them.”

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States. It is a time for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. It is a special time for many veterans to remember and honor friends, family and comrades who served and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and died for their country.