I love all things patriotic. The music, the movies, the people, even the decorations.
My grandfather served in WWII and was a prisoner of war. As I also hear many people say of their relatives, he didn't talk of it at all. I don't know what atrocities he saw, felt, or experienced. I can't imagine the fear, horror, homesickness, and loss he felt. I don't know any of that. All I know is that many years after he came home I knew him to be a loving, loyal, and kind grandfather. He was a Christian, who loved the Lord. He prayed with his eyes open, I don't know why, but I always loved that. He was a good man and I am proud to have called him Papaw.
My biological father served in Vietnam. Not once, but twice. I don't remember meeting him until I was 12. Oh, how I loved him. I would see him for a week once a summer for about seven years. By the time he died, I had seen him probably 60 days in my life, (my life as I remember it. He and mom were married until I was around 3) 60 days, not a lot of time. When I was about 20, I spent some wonderful time with him, we talked, really talked. I felt I needed answers, and he felt that way too. He explained the war as he saw it. The sadness and the responsibility he felt for the people of Vietnam, and how that affected his life as a husband and father. He didn't die in the war, but he died because of it. It was many years later that he took his life, but it was the war that, in the end, took his life.
I am proud to be an American. I'm proud to be the granddaughter, and daughter of veterans. On this Memorial Day weekend, I remember you.