Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day

I know that yesterday was when we observed Memorial Day, but today is the tradition, origional, day it was celebrated.

My Great-Grandfather was a veteran in both WWI and WWII. Of his 5 sons, 3 served in WWII, one in Korea, and the other served in the military in between those wars. My Grandfather is one of those 3 who served in the Army during WWII.

My dad's father served in the Navy during WWII. My dad's stepfather was in the Canadian military at the same time.

But, I'm not going to talk about any of these great men. I'm going to talk about the only casualty my family has suffered in war.

And I'm not even related to him.

He was my Aunt's boyfriend. He was killed in Vietnam.

A few years ago, there was a traveling version of the Vietnam Wall that came to West Jordan. My sisters and I went to check it out. My parents were out of town. I got the distinct impression to find his name. I called my mom to get it.

We made two rubbings of his name. I don't know why we did two, but we did. It was a moment that felt as sacred and peacful as I have ever experienced. We all stood there and cried during the moment. It still brings a tear to my eye to recount that moment. And, to think, I had never known the guy. My mom was still in high school when he died.

About a year after that experience, I was talking to one of my coworkers, and somehow, in conversation, I discovered that she was his sister. I told of my experience at the wall. She said she wanted to go, but still couldn't bring herself to do it. I offered to bring one of my rubbings. She has shared it with her family, at least those who could come to terms with it.

As my WWII Army Grandfather said this past weekend, "War is Hell, no dobt about it."



That One Guy said...

GREAT story. thanks. When that was here, we packed up all 8 of our kids and took them out there to see it. We walked along its entire length. The kids were surprised at the sheer number of names.

Our kids, simply by virtue of their age, feel quite removed from veterans. They don't "know" anybody who has served.

One of the best things for them was the veterans who were there, handing out ribbons and such.

I would say that every single one of our kids had a little education that one Sunday morning.


Anonymous said...

You need to ask your dad who he was named after.... Your grandmother's older brother, who was killed in WWII. Your grandfather was also one of 5 sons, three of whom served in WWII. He and his twin survived the Navy. Their older brother was killed while serving in the army. I find it sad that you either didn't know this or don't consider these brave men part of your family.