Monday, May 28, 2012
This is the day, Memorial Day, to remember our war dead. For me that means a small group of people I served with in 1969-70 in Vietnam, but for you it may be another war in a different decade. My friends are frozen in time and place and the last part of their lives involved things like elephant grass, wait-a-minute vines, thump guns, LZs (landing zones), trip flares, puff the magic dragon, "don't mean nothing", and Victor Charlie - but their lives mean much more than that.
It is said as a cliche that our lives are like stones that are dropped in water and create a ripple that travels far beyond the original perimeters. But cliches become cliches because they are grounded in truth. We all exist and react to life in the moment, but our lives as a whole are permanently planted and nourished in time.
Several people have contacted me about their family members after my posts about "Treasure," "More Treasure," "Rest in Peace Doc", and "The Hurt Locker Hurts," I am grateful and feel privileged to connect with their memories. The fallen have left their measure in many lives long after they are gone.
When I was riding my bike this morning on a green way path between two neighborhood developments, I was surrounded by tall trees that will bear witness throughout the day of people strolling, running, or like me, biking and enjoying the Memorial Day Holiday. Those gone before their time will never be able to experience those simple pleasures, or experience their first house payment, be filled with pride as their young child sprints to the school bus on the first day, embrace someone they love, receive the gift of an answered prayer, feel the joy of having a grandchild sit in their lap and give them a hug, know the curiosity and exhilaration of travel, and the thousand little things that life supplies. They will never feel the effects of Post-Combat Traumatic Stress Disorder because they never survived the combat.
For those I knew on the list, most very well, some very little, their lives ended in their twenties. You may have loved ones from a different time and a different war, but we are all connected, all of us, in our thoughts and prayers for them. They are in a better place now.
They mattered when they were alive.
They matter now.
William James Olson, age 21, Chicago, panel 10w-line 35
David Winder (Doc), age 21, Pennsylvania, panel 10w-line37
Wilmer Matson, age 20, Nebraska, panel 13w -line131
Rhea Kidd (Billy the Kid), age 26, Kentucky, panel 10w-line34
Van T Wray, age 21, North Carolina, panel 10w-line36
Arthur Munson, age 20, Colorado, panel 10w-line35
Albert Flores Tristan, age 21, Texas, panel 9w-line125
Richard Humphrey, age 20, Maryland, panel10w-line33
Curtis Ringhofer, age 25, Minnesota, panel 10w-line36
Raymond Souza, age 20, California, panel 10w-line 37