Day to remember

Published 11:20 pm Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day is on the calendar once a year, but for some people, such as the Hudson family of Mountain Creek, it occurs every day.

“Memorial Day is a day for memorializing,” Lorenzo Hudson said.

“There’s not a day that goes by when we don’t think about him,” he said, speaking of his older brother, John.

John Hudson was killed in a terrorist attack while serving as a doctor to U.S. Marines in Lebanon in 1983, but he is still remembered each day by family and friends.

According to an article published in the Spring 2009 edition of Medical College of Georgia Medicine journal, John Hudson was a recent graduate of the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine when he enlisted in the United States Navy to fulfill a requirement after using a Navy scholarship program.

In 1983, two years out of medical school, Hudson was sent with the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, to Lebanon, a country then engaged in civil war.

Hudson, who was known as one who enjoyed life to the fullest, was well known among the Marines he served.

As time passed, the fighting in Beirut, continued to escalate, which concerned Hudson. He described the experience as being in a “combat war zone.”

Hudson was frustrated with the military policies that prohibited the Marines from firing at the enemy unless they had already been fired upon.

Hudson was concerned for his own safety as well as the safety of the Marines he treated. They began coming in with more serious conditions, such as bullet and shrapnel wounds.

On Oct. 23, 1983, a suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden truck through the compound gate, past the guards and Marines frantically trying to load their weapons in defense, and finally barreled into the barracks.

Before anyone could react, the bomber detonated the explosives, causing a forceful shockwave. Following the explosion, the four-story barracks collapsed.

The attack killed Hudson along with 240 other military personnel.

Two days after the blast, Hudson’s body was found, and two weeks later he was laid to rest at his wife Lisa’s family farm. She never remarried and relied on their son, Will, as motivation to keep going.

“He’s the reason I’m alive, that’s the truth,” she said in the article. “He was my motivation to move on.”

Lorenzo Hudson said that though Will Hudson never really knew his father, he strongly resembles him.

“There’s so many similarities,” he said.

John Hudson’s father, Samuel Hudson, was originally from Mountain Creek. In 1974, after moving many times due to his career in the Army, Samuel moved back to Mountain Creek, where the Hudson family was deeply rooted.

“This house has been in the family for three generations,” Lorenzo said.

Although John was born in Germany and spent a lot of time in Georgia, he lived in Mountain Creek occasionally through the years.

To some people, Memorial Day is all about barbecue and a long weekend, but for the Hudson family it means something much deeper.

“It’s a day of somber occasions for our whole family,” Lorenzo said. “We miss my brother.”

Although the loss of John created a void in the family, they have not forgotten him.

“We can’t ever stop talking about him,” Lorenzo said of family gatherings. “He’s the main topic of conversation.”

Lorenzo said he plans to attend the Memorial Day service at the Chilton County Courthouse.

To the Hudson family, Memorial Day comes every day.