Friday, November 10, 2006
THE VETERANS WALL
Every year at my son's elementary school there's a Veterans Wall. Students are asked to bring pictures of relatives that served, and these pictures are put up on the wall for the week prior to Veterans Day. The wall is on the main hallway of the school and is at least forty feet long, stretching from the front door of the school where the main office is located all the way down to the secondary, or parallel hallway. It's the main thoroughfare of the school.
Each year my son takes the same picture of his Grandaddy and places it on the Veterans Wall. It's an 8x10 sepia. Not quite black and white, not quite color. Rosy cheeks, brownish tones with a litle mauve thrown in, but the layer underneath is black and white all the same. It's a picture that was done, at some time waaaaay in the past, before my time even but passed down to me, on heavy duty photographic quality card stock. If you believe in fate, you'd think mayhaps it was because little hands, decades later, were going to take it to school every year, year after year, and place it on a Veterans Wall that six hundred children would tromp and flounce and skitter by a dozen times a day for five days.
Not sure how much of Veterans Day my #1 son comprehends right now in his realm of consciousness. He's nine. Not sure how much of it I want him to comprehend. It tears my heart out when I close my eyes and contemplate it myself, and I'm forty seven. I only want to understand it to the extent that I can sincerely and graciously, to the depths of my being, be thankful for those who have the sense of deep dedication, loyalty, understanding of responsibility and service . . . . . . . to go where they have gone and do whatever they have done. I can't even think and never have understood how anyone could lead normal lives after such a thing and whether that shows how silly and shallow I am or how beautifully trained and sadly unappreciated they are or were I don't know but either way or both who could ever do more for their country and family and people they don't even know than this?
So someday my nine year old and my four year old will 'get it'. In the meantime, every year they'll proudly haul the sweet sepia tone picture of their Grandaddy to school and smack it up on the Veterans Wall for six hundred kids to walk by a dozen times a day for five days in a row.
Happy Veterans Day to Daddy and to Junior, my Daddy that my husband gave me, and thank you for defending our Country. And Happy Veterans Day to all Veterans, and many many thanks!!!
Here's a link to a prior blog entry where I shared a letter my Dad wrote to his uncle, thanking him for his service to our country: It's worth reading, if you don't mind my bragging on my Dad's raw honesty and eloquence.