I always try to remember the real meaning of this weekend. It’s easy to forget with BBQs and boats and beaches and lakes and the giddiness of the end of school.
I had (have) plenty service members in my family. My dad fought in Korea. The only time I ever saw Dad cry was describing the Battle of Pork Chop Hill to my kids. I thought it would be a great experience for them to hear about war from someone who had been in one. I wasn’t sorry after but I was humbled and saddened and awed.
He never spoke about his experience in Korea. He was a staunch Republican but I remember him saying once to a friend if we ever went to war and they had a draft he’d send my brothers to Canada. It was so shocking from someone who was otherwise so patriotic, lockstep, and I knew why he felt that way after that story of his experience at one of the bloodiest battles in history. A battle, honestly, I never knew about before that day. No person is one dimensional. People are a prism.
And he and I were close even though we existed far apart on the the political, life choices and so many other scales. That day I saw him in a new light so close to the end of his life, though, of course, I could not know that then. Like a character in a story I was being given a gift. He peeled a layer, shattered the image of the thankful immigrant I knew him as. I’m glad I heard about it before he left us.
Anyway, enjoy the holiday with family and friends remembering those who keep us safe here and far away.