Memorial Day

We drove through the foothills today into the Blue Mountains. The gusting wind rolled like waves through the lush wheat fields and crested in the sun light.

As the mountain road changes from paved to gravel it ascends into switchbacks that slice through rock-filled ravines and open meadows. The blustery air followed us up the crooked path. The tamaracks and pine trees whispered and moaned. The aromatic scents of wildflowers mixed with pollen and dust to tickle our noses.

Our original goal for this afternoon jaunt was to utilize our permit to harvest rocks that have rolled into the roadway. The landscape around our pond and the waterfall feature has yet to be completed. One of those ‘always in progress’ tasks.

However, my attention kept drifting from rock viewing to the symphony of sounds and smells. The blessings of living in a beautiful place and sharing it with those that I love felt overwhelming. My emotions climbed with the terrain.

I saw the Memorial Day events listed in the Sunday morning paper. I felt guilty that honoring those who served and sacrificed was not in our Monday plans.

As a result, I took a few moments away from the hunt to remember.

Three of our grandchildren’s Dad is in the Air Force. He will be returning to the Middle East this fall for his third tour. He is no longer my son-in law. However, those little faces that I love, love him.

Alex, you are in my prayers.

Prior to our meeting, my husband served four years in the late sixties as a submariner. His dress whites are in a storage box. Pictures of his “Boats” hang at the end of the hallway.

Hubby, you were a handsome sailor. I love you.

The army drafted my youngest brother, a conscientious objector, about the same year. I was in high school and cried as he reported for duty and climbed into the waiting bus. The nightly news was all about Vietnam. Nick was one of the lucky ones who stayed in the States. He never carried a gun, but served in a medic position. He became a respiratory therapist after his stint was complete. Billy, my cousin, lived with us his last year of high school before the army drafted him. He was wounded in Vietnam when he stepped on a land mind while carrying a comrade off the battlefield. He died of unrelated causes

My eldest brother graduated from College in the late fifties and received his “Greetings”in 1958. “The White Coats” in Maryland was his military family. They were eager to use Ron's
degree in Biochemistry.

Big brothers, - You made our family proud.

The hubby’s dad (1925-2002) was yet a teen when assigned to a sub chaser in the South Seas during World War II. That is why he was still young enough for call back during the Korean Conflict. In 2001, I asked him to share his story at our Memorial Day Barbecue. The hubby and his sister heard their father’s narrative for the first time that day. His memoirs included the execution of his favorite cousin who was a prisoner of war. The handwritten pages smeared by his tears are neatly folded and stored. It will be a post on my blog some day. Two of my mom’s brothers, George and Wilmer, served in World War II. One was in the European theater. They are both gone, and as far as I know their experiences with them. Gram's cousin Victor was entombed in the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor on that fateful December 7.

You were indeed -The Greatest Generation.

Tecumseh, my dad’s 23-year-old brother, died of pneumonia while serving in World War I. Dad spoke of him with quiet admiration.

Uncle Tecumseh, I knew you because dad told me about you. Now my kids will know about you, too.

During the Civil war, Typhoid fever killed my maternal Great Grandfather George. My paternal Great Grandfather Elisha, lost his arm in battle. Great Great Grandfather Ambrose on the hubby’s side was a cavalry soldier in that uncivil War, as well. He returned home safely. You can read about them in my post One Wore Blue.

You men came home and mended a broken nation.
May your sacrifices and forgiveness remind us about unity and greater good.

The Revolutionary War included my Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather Titus Travis, who was on the “Muster Roll of New York Provincial Troops,” and his son George, with four greats. George escaped after capture by the Redcoats. Through your commitment I am a "Daughter of The Revolution."

Thousands of children are your descendants. Thousands more have arrived here to share in the dreams that you had. I like to think my grandson has your smile.


sognatrice said…
This is simply beautiful. Best wishes for a wonderful Memorial Day with your family.
theotherbear said…
Wow. Pamela, that was great.
I don't know about Memorial Day, have never heard of it, but can totally get it from your post.
Sunrunner said…
That is truly wonderful. Have a peaceful Memorial Day.
Stephanie said…
Beautiful post, Pamela. Truly.

My Daddy recieved his "Greetings" for Vietnam the day before I was born. My Granddaddy shipped out to the Philippines during WWII the week he found out Grandmother was pregnant with Daddy.

I am grateful for your family and mine.
coffeypot said…
Beautiful post, Pamela. My dad ran away from home at 15, lied about his age and joined the Army to fight in WWI. The war ended while he was in basic training. Me and my two brothers were Navy vetrans and I am proud of their service. I just wish America would honor those guys a little more - like we did when I was young. Thank hubby for serving - from a tin can sailor.
Hazel said…
...tears so early in the day. thank you for remembering.
Susie said…
I loved this glimpse of your family of veterans. Are you active in DAR?
My Grandma was proud to be an officer and because of her involvementI have my family history documented back to the American Revolution.
Great post!!
angel said…
a truly incredible post pamela! your family sounds fantastic!
ChrisB said…
pamela that was a beautiful memorial day tribute to your family veterans, you must be so proud of them all. Our Remembrance Day falls in November but it is not a public holiday.
Amanda said…
It is so wonderful to know my heritage! You and dad have done a lot of work to keep alive the stories of my family and I appreciate that. We honor them by remembering them and by bringing their stories to light, not just on memorial day. Wonderful post, mom!
BarnGoddess said…
beautiful post!

My Father is a Korean War Veteran, I am proud of him....and all of our Nation's Military, the ones off right now fighting for our Freedom and the ones who served before them.
Shelby said…
absolutely beautiful post recognizing all those who served us :)
willowtree said…
There you go again, raising the damn bar. Don't you realise that most of us struggle to even come up with a post let alone a well written one (and then they are either about kids, pets or farts).

Very nicely done.
Karmyn R said…
When does Alex leave?
melissa said…
Lovely post, Pamela. :)
C said…
You have an impressive family lineage. :) Thanks to them that made our country safe and what it is today.
Gattina said…
Europeans have a completely other view on militairs. As the civilian population has suffered so much, soldiers are not very well seen and it's considered being their fault that all these things happened. People are usually ashamed if there is one in the family who was or is a soldier ! Of course there are also exceptions but not very much. War memorials are celebrated very discretely.
jenn said…
I have many family members that have served or are currently serving in different branches of the service.

I'm so proud and grateful for each and everyone of them.

You're such a talented writer Pamela and I love how you've mentioned each one of your soldiers.
Susie Q said…
Amazing...the way you write leaves me speechless!

What a treasure to know these things and have them all to pass down generation to generation.


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