Posts Tagged ‘Memorial Day’

military cemetaryStories of familial ties to the invasion of Normandy rarely brushed by our ears, but the couple times they did an indelible impression was left.

My grandfathers served, and participated, in the invasion; my father served in the Army and spent time in Europe. 

None of these men spent time holding us in their laps, spinning yarns about their contributions during the war. They didn’t make grand overtures about being American, rather they did what men and fathers do—focused on raising their families, taking care of life as it happened, not living in the past.

My ardor and love of country wasn’t something drummed into me as a child. We were taught respect for the flag, and for our country. We were taught that God belongs in the Pledge of Allegiance. Patriotism came practically through osmosis instead of indoctrination. 

Years of study and reading, in pursuit of quenching a thirst for knowledge, helped solidify my understanding of how and 

 we became Americans, of what it meant and what it still means. I didn’t learn my lessons on a battle field on in a foreign country while wearing my country’s uniform; books and lectures are dismally poor substitutes for flesh and blood.

But when my son enlisted in the Navy, and both times he swore his oath, he did so cloaked in a most dignified, heartfelt pride; Dad and I were present for both events, and though our perspectives on service are borne of two different spirits their collective sentiment gives breath to the same loyal affection, that of flesh and blood.

As I sat and watched, again, footage of the landings at Normandy on D-Day in June of 1944, and of new sailors on ships heading out into the Pacific toward Saipan, i am instantly confronted with a weighty question:

If my son were in a similar situation, knowing what I know of history, what would I say to him? 

What could I say to him?

Perhaps the best approach would be to reiterate our pride and support, and carry on as Americans invariably do . . . to do what’s right.


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