This morning I saw an old man at the grocery store wearing his Vietnam Vet hat being scolded by his daughter for putting things in the cart that they didn’t need. I could tell her heart hurt as she had to explain to him that they didn’t need any more candy, they had enough.
It hurt my heart.
He was not a child. He was a man.
It hurts to think about all of the men who can’t remember why they walked into a room but they remember their time in Korea 60 years ago.
Or the men who couldn’t remember how to tie their tie this morning as they got ready honor their fallen comrades even though they’ve done it five days a week since they returned to America after fighting a war that still haunts them.
Or the men who can’t remember how to drive a car but can remember the details of sailing in a ship to a foreign land to walk the mine fields.
Or the little girls who ask their mom’s if they’ve ever seen their Grandpa smile before. Yes, yes she has seen her grandpa smile. He used to laugh and play and take her on adventures!
Or the wives who are taking care of their husbands all alone, much like a single mom takes care of her toddler. She has to prepare his meals, help him pick out his clothes, remind him where he is and who he’s with, she has to tell him what day it is and answer the same questions over and over and over, and make sure he doesn’t forget to take his medicine, even though it doesn’t seem to be working. She can’t leave him alone for very long or he might get scared.
It hurts to think about the men who fought, who came home, who got married and had children and successful careers, and are now being reduced old bodies who’s fondest memories are slipping away.
Today has not been a very happy day.
It hurts to be far away. To not be able to do anything.
I am not a patriotic person and I won’t pretend to be today. But today is an important day to someone I love, and so it’s important to me.