Posted by: wrmcnutt | May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Sorry – nothing entertaining today.  Just a few odd thoughts.

My paternal grandfather served in the Pacific theater during the Second World War.  When I asked “What did Poppa do in the war,” I got told that he strung telegraph and telephone wires in the rear areas, and that the most interesting thing he’d done was learned to write his name upside down and backwards.

When I was a young man, my father was an avid golfer.  (Stay with me, it’s relevant, I promise.)  He always ended up with those short little golf pencils in his pockets.  When he got home, he’d drop them in to his cuff link case.  So, growing up, there was always a little pencil in Dad’s cuff link case.  Not too long ago, I was over at Dad’s, and I needed something to write with.  Not even thinking about it, I went to his dresser and started opening drawers in his cuff link case.  It’s been at least thirty years since Dad played golf, but old habits die hard.  I didn’t find a pencil.  What I found were two US Army issue dress uniform pins. One as a Sergent’s rank insignia.  The other was a Signal Corp unit pin.  And there was also a small fruit salad  There were just a few ribbons on it.  Included were three bronze stars.  I certainly had a WTF moment.  I suspect that my family was not entirely honest with me.  I keep meaning to ask the Army for his 201 file and find out what’s up with that.  My maternal grandfather was a machinist’s mate in the Navy, and also served in the Pacific theater of operations.  My mother’s Uncle Harold helped build the Burma Road in India.  My father’s father’s father fought in WWI.  Dad was in the Air Force during the Vietnam, and, although his unit was mobilized to deploy, the war ended before they departed, so he never saw combat.  The family service tradition goes all the way back to the War Between the States, that we are sure of.

I am the first adult male in my paternal line who has not been called to serve.

I don’t know how I feel about that.  It was luck, really.  I was too young for Vietnam, and too old for the second Gulf War.

My family has been, by an large, lucky.  Everyone has come home.

Today is set aside for those who did not.

I’m not going to tell you not to have a cookout.  Or to not go swimming. Or to do anything that would spoil your day off.  But I am going to ask you, at 3:00, to observe one minute’s silence, in Memorial.

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  1. well we did cook out, but we also prayed in thanks for the lives given, stolen and lost forever.

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