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Showing posts with label patriotic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label patriotic. Show all posts

Monday, May 31, 2021

Sunflowers on Memorial Day

Tall sunflowers blooming in summer in las cruces


These sunflowers are standing tall and still in the heat, as if they know of the solemnity of Memorial Day.

"All gave some. Some gave all."

pretty sunflowers in a field


My father was an ensign in the U.S. Navy in World War II. Beyond dirt poor and extremely thin, he borrowed as many coins as he could from friends and filled his pockets, so that he could "make weight" and enlist. His first non-home haircut, his first train ride, his first venture out of a small town in Louisiana, all courtesy of the Armed Forces. 

His first swimming lesson: He could jump, or he could be tossed from, a high platform into the deep pool below, in San Diego. After seeing a few thrown off the diving platform, he jumped, despite his intense fear of heights.

In the mess hall in San Diego, the sailors were served two "alligator pears" each at every meal. One of his buddies bit into his, right through the peel, then spat it out, quick. "It's bitter," he said. Not having seen them before, or even having heard of them, he, like many other country boys, threw them out, untouched. 

My father loved to tell that story. "I threw away a fortune in avocados," he would say, ruefully. "If only I had known."  

Something else courtesy of Uncle Sam: A Harvard education, free, gratis, no strings attached. And no say in it, either. You signed up, you took their tests, you went where they said to go. My father wanted to study engineering and serve on a ship. No, said the Navy. You are going to be an actuary.

I do not glorify war, but I do not want the wars forgotten. But as the history teacher at our school was explaining, the wars of our fathers and the wars during our youths will be as big an abstraction to today's students as the War of 1812 is to us. It will carry no emotional import, even second-hand import. Although I was not yet born, the tales of WWII are vivid in my mind, were vivid in my childhood; part of it, ever-present, really. 

His remarks really distressed me. "It's how it is," he said. "Just remember, as long as you can. Just remember." 

sunflowers memorial day

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly