My father died in Vietnam. To my knowledge, and I only know this from photographs, he only saw me once in my life. He was 24 when he died, I was four and my brother was 5. A boy when he left and a man when he was returned. My mother lost the first love of her life, the father of her children, and did the best she could to keep his memory alive. Even though I didn't know him, I will remember him always.
my grandparents with my mother, 1946
My grandfather was a survivor of Pearl Harbor. He has been gone for almost 13 years. I think of him as a quiet man, a man of few words. But as they say, still waters run deep. When he retired he became a Baptist minister. I remember him spending hours in his study, reading and writing. My lovely grandmother used to pay me to type his sermons. They weren't the hell fire sermons you might think but rather beautiful stories of people and ways of the past and how these stories might relate to the present. I loved reading them as I typed and many thoughts and questions were aroused because of them. They were inspiring in an entirely different way than he may have intended but, nonetheless, judgement never seemed to enter the picture.
I have profound gratitude for all who have served and lost their lives through conflict and my heart goes out to anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one, whatever the cause may be.