Jack Estes wrote a guest column for The Oregonian about the meaning of Memorial Day. His parents, who both served in World War II, are buried in Willamette National Cemetery. Estes himself served in Southeast Asia and recalls how little he thought of Memorial Day when he was an 18-year-old Marine trying to stay alive long enough to return home. The passing years have made the meaning more important he says, as “those boys, who perished, are back with me again.”

Estes is the author of the Vietnam memoir, “A Field of Innocence.”