Lest We Forget...
My Grandfather never talked about it. Occasionally we saw a photo from the large box of black and white photographs that he had stashed away -- Grandpa, with the best mustache ever...Grandpa, with Egypt's pyramids in the background...black and white friends who might just as well have been ghosts...some very likely were -- and there was the rare Saturday afternoon war movie that Grandpa would excuse himself from watching, or complain about it's inaccuracies, but Grandpa never talked about the war...not ever. Not with anyone.
He had a limp from the shrapnel he'd taken in his leg and hip, and he had all of those memories to manage, the reason behind his gruffness and the bottle, I'm certain, but he never talked about it, and never ruminated on it, at least not that we ever saw. I'm sure he did, and I know that the ghosts would come to visit every now and again. He was a conflicted man. War will do that to you.
I pulled over to the side of the road today to observe the silence at the 11th hour. The Last Post
played and I got emotional. I always do. I am now. I can't imagine it...any of it. I watched as car after car sped by, indifferent, or ignorant and it struck me how long it's been, and how far we've fallen from the memory of those boys who volunteered to lose everything...even if they came home they had already forfeited everything. They were not the same men who left. My grandpa wasn't.
I get emotional just thinking about it, but I don't know if it's because of their sacrifice or my own inability to conceive of it. It's big deal stuff, and I'm happy for the chance to pull him back into my mind, but there are always tears, and an overwhelming feeling of not being good enough, not for what he did. I know that he'd be proud of me, but I also wonder if I am infinitely less than what those men were? Their choices and experiences are so hard to comprehend.
I thought of you today Grandpa, and it was hard to do without feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. I guess that's the point...lest we forget.