My mom was 9 when America entered World War Two. She watched as cousins, uncles, her first crush went off to war. She went with her parents to see the news reels and watched for familiar names in the rolls of the dead/missing. She was 18, when friends went off to war again, this time Korea. She lost her fiancé then. In 1963, she was in the US Naval Base under her uncle’s command when “lock down” came along with the news that President Kennedy had been assasinated.
Mom resigned her commission in the Navy to marry my father — a former navy man, now in the airforce and in the Vietnam war.
They had their children while stationed in Germany. For nearly 10 years she not only moved with my father from area/assignment to area/assignment, but from illness to illness as the effects of PTSD took its toll. She left him when his PTSD became so bad it was a matter of saving her children’s lives.
For the next 20 yrs, despite the ravages to his mind, he could not stay away from the one true constant in his life — his family. He never really understood the pain and sorrow, these episodes had on his family for he was always in the jungle in his head. He never really left there unless alcohol pulled the black curtain over his consciousness.
He died, but not alone. She was there. Mourning the man he was, the man he could have been had it not been for war.
She did not remarry or even date, the war had taken that from her as well. She went back to work for the government. Yet mourned the loss of the young men and women who took up the call and returned, all too soon to a military funeral, a white cross and a flag for their loved ones.
At 9/11, she was recovering from a stroke. Yet, from her hospital bed she went into red alert mode, calling her building as head of the union and ordering an evacuation.
Even in her 60’s she could not get the military out of her blood.
A staunch democrat all her life, she suffered through the “inane workings” of the republicans. Yet, even at 85 and strongly anti-Trump, she watch solemnly as the White House honored those who gave their lives and the families who suffered along with them. Who suffer still, for freedom, for country and for all this country could be and could be still.
On this Memorial Day take a moment to say a silent thank you to these souls. They surrender their lives, their families and their promise for all you have and so you may achieve your promise. Make them proud.