Memorial Day Musings

Without the ability to form full flowing paragraphs this Friday afternoon, I instead offer a list of simple Memorial Day musings in honor of the service and sacrifice of all America’s military members, especially my sister, LT Valerie Cappelaere Delaney (5/14/86-3/11/13).


  • I feel eternally grateful for my fearless sister who pursued her dreams of becoming a pilot in service to this country and provided inspiration and mentorship to me and countless others.
  • I will never forget her bright smile, soft hands, big mouth, feisty spirit, compassionate soul, unrelenting work ethic, unquestionable integrity, and strong faith.
  • I thank her for the gift and the seed of this Foundation, the platform through which we can share her incredible story in hopes of inspiring other young women to live fully and fearlessly as she did.
  • I feel strangely excited to get know to Val on a deeper level now in her death through building this Foundation and telling the stories of the impact she had on her friends and loved ones. I wonder how I can ever put into words what, specifically, it was about Val – her upbringing? her challenges? her attitude? her faith? – that allowed her to achieve what she did in her short life.
  • I feel blessed with a strong family that instilled in me values of patriotism and service from a young age, with annual visits to Arlington National Cemetery to pay respects to several of my relatives who served. I feel even more blessed now that we’ve grown closer through our hardships and through the opportunity to work together on this Foundation.
  • I realize that for Gold Star families, every single day is Memorial Day, for better or for worse; yet I also feel proud that on this national holiday, the whole country also acknowledges this reality and remembers heroes like Val.
  • I admire organizations like the Travis Manion Foundation, the American Fallen Solider’s Project (AFSP) and so many others, who make it their mission to honor and serve those who serve our country through wonderfully innovative programs and services. This time last year, we were honored to be presented with Val’s portrait (pictured above) from Phil Taylor of the AFSP and it hangs proudly on our walls and in our hearts. Mission BBQ also created an incredible tribute video about Val if you haven’t seen it already.
  • I congratulate the four veterans of Mission Memorial Day who are going on a mountain climbing expedition, carrying with them flags with names of those lost in service to this nation (including Val’s name) in hopes to restoring meaning back to Memorial day.
  • I appreciate President Obama’s recent proclamation that Memorial Day is a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I urge everyone to unite in prayer on 11:00am on Monday 5/25/15 and to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3pm local time.
  • I ask for prayers and positive thoughts for my family as we build this Foundation – please like us on Facebook page and share it among your networks! We are hoping for an official Fall kick-off event, so keep an eye out for more information and ways to donate and get involved.

What are your Memorial Day musings? How will you be celebrating this weekend by honoring the true meaning of this holiday and remembering those we’ve lost in military service?

– Allison Righter, President, Wings for Val Foundation