Happy Memorial Day!
We're remembering the sacrifices made by our men and women in service to our country. Especially Grandaddy. Several others in our family have served in various ways in the Army and Navy, but I have to give the Gold Medal to Grandaddy. Grandaddy served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He's a first-hand history lesson to my children. He's taught them about the fear that you swallow during battle. He's described that feeling in the pit of your stomach when a truck drives by stacked to the gun rails with the bodies of American soldiers killed on the front lines. He's told them about shooting flamethrowers into caves and watching the enemy run out screaming and on fire. He's explained in detail what it's like to live in a foxhole, eating canned scrambled eggs and dried figs for days on end, dumping rainwater out of your boots, having Jungle Rot on your toes and in between your legs.
And...my twins' absolute favorite part...he's told them all about how one eliminated their bodily waste while living in a foxhole hoping not to get shot. Apparently it involves your helmet and tossing the contents out of your hole afterward. And you'd better hope the person in the next foxhole isn't too close!
Grandaddy will talk to my kids for ages about what war was like. I don't think he likes reliving the horror. I think he wants them to know what it was really like. He wants them to know what it cost past generations for our children to live as they do today. One day soon, there won't be any WWII vets around to tell their stories anymore. We'll have to read about it in history books and that just isn't quite the same.
If you have a Veteran in your life (or even just an elderly person you love) go spend some time with them and give them the gift of listening. They have so much to share.