Not-So-Daily Blog: Memorial Day

Posted by Kathy on May 26, 2012 in Uncategorized |

 

When my Dad was just 18, fresh out of high school in Lawrence, NY, he enlisted and joined the Army Air Force.  It was the height of WWII, and he did what scores and scores of other Americans did.  He signed up.

He and my Mom were high school sweethearts, but Dad was sent south to Georgia, where he hoped to train as a pilot.  He temporarily set aside dreams of education in music or engineering, and reported for duty.

Meanwhile, my mother, just 17, went off for her first semester at Penn State where she reportedly lost weight from pining away for my father.  That plus, as she later reported to us time and again, the food was so terrible that some lunches consisted of mayonnaise and relish sandwiches.

Dad had a little problem with pilot’s training, though.  Every time the plane went up to do maneuvers, he got sick.  Again and again, he tried.  Finally, someone decided he was not pilot material.  I guess they couldn’t imagine him flying over Europe and vomiting in the middle of an attack.  Instead, he was offered the next best thing, and ended up playing his clarinet in an Army band.

My mother, after her first semester, boarded a train and ended up (ta da!) in Georgia, where upon the two young lovers phoned my Mom’s parents to get permission to marry, as she was under age.

On my Dad’s grave site here in Portland, Maine, the local Veterans group has placed a small flag on the flat memorial stone recognizing his years of service.  And although he did not actively fight in WWII, he was willing.  Perhaps his long marriage to my mother and the raising of four children was a service, and not an easy one, at times, for such a young Dad.  But he did it, and he and my Mom were truly lifelong sweethearts.  And perhaps in some way, the music he played gave pleasure and peace to some of the soldiers who, in fact, were heading up in planes, some of whom did not return.

So today – this weekend – we thank them all.  I am sad that in our world both now and then that there has not been a better answer to war.  But I am humbled by every man and woman who has stepped up in their own way, battle or not, to do what they can to keep the world as safe and free as possible.  For those that gave their lives, and for those who suffered the loss of family, I am grateful.

Have a safe and blessed weekend!

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