On this most recent Memorial Day weekend i spent sometime reflecting on the soldiers In my life. My maternal grandfather was a horse soldier in WW1; i have a photocopy of his draft notice snd a picture of him in uniform on a horse.
My father was in the Navy, the Army Air Corp and later the United States Air Force. He flew in planes in the Navy during WW11. He served during the Korean conflict and Viet Nam war. He was in the military his entire working career.
My uncle’s, cousins, brother, two husbands and my oldest son also served, as well as a niece. They all felt a call yo serve.
A strong thread of patriotism is woven through the fabric of my life.
No one in my immediate family died in war. My mother’s first fiance died in the second world war. A dear high school friend paid with his life in Viet Nam; another friend was one of the countless victims who returned as mere shells of the young men who left. Their minds forever scarred.
When my father was in the last year of life the Navy awarded.him some medals 70 years after he earned them. All of his five children attended the extremely moving ceremony…he hated being in the spotlight but endured the event for us kids. Less than a year he was gone; buried in the military cemetery at Fort Sam Houston. His was not the only funeral I attended in that place filled with a seemingly unending ocean of white tombstones. I suspect it will not be the last. The sound of Taps played on bugle on a gray December after a twenty one gun salute will forever be etched on my heart.
This year I needed my flag hung early. Saturday we hung it over our front porch. The next morning at Mass, there was an elderly man alone, a few rows in front of me. He had a colorful shirt on , on a grey, rainy Sunday. I was startled to notice the naval planes and ships on the shirt on the word “Midway” in red lettering. I left my seat when it was time to offer each other the sign of peace and walked up to where he was standing and touched his arm. He turned as I said “Peace be with you.” That ever present thread of patriotism will always tie me to the military. I looked in his aged eyes and saw another American hero.
Peace be with them all, now and forever.
©Nancilynn Saylor. June 6, 2017