While we were able to enjoy our freedom this long weekend at beautiful places like Lewisville Lake, my honey and I started chatting about the disappearing World War II vets and it started me thinking.
I was born in 1970 which means every parade I went to growing up had veterans from WWII and Korea and because there was so much trauma still surrounding it, very few Vietnam vets.
A lot has been said about the Greatest Generation. World War II veterans shaped this country, possibly in a way no others have. It was the last war where lines were really clear and at least now, everything about that time seems just a little romantic.
My grandfather was a medic in the Pacific theater. The war shaped his life in ways only a veteran would truly understand. He would never own a Japanese made vehicle. He could never really get past Pearl Harbor and the things he saw in combat. When I was little, I thought grandpa was the smartest man on earth because he knew just what to do when I was hurt to fix me. I didn't realize that was his military training as a medic taking over.
When I told my grandpa about the World War II monument he thought it was a silly idea. "Nobody cares" he said. I tried to tell him everyone cared but I think back on it now and I realize, that was just the way that generation thought. They didn't do anything special in their eyes. They just did what had to be done. It didn't matter either, who they were. Major League Baseball players and Movie Stars alike went to war. I have a hard time thinking of today's spoiled athletes or tree hugging movie stars wanting to volunteer for anything unless a camera was there to get a good PR shot.
When they came back they did nothing less than get back to work and build a lot of homes and factories and farms. It's hard not to feel a little sad knowing every year there are fewer and fewer WWII vets left. It's sad to think of life without them when we owe them so much but what we owe them most is to fix the messes of their kids, our parents. I will never forget the day my grandfather said to me "It's your problem now. I'm done worrying about it. You vote and you fix this mess."
I always do, grandpa. I hope you know that. I always vote even though most of the time I don't like anyone. I wish there were more good men who did what had to be done left.
My grandfather passed away almost 6 years ago but no Memorial Day holiday goes by that doesn't see me put out the flag because I didn't forget.
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