Tis the season

otto-tuneMemorial Day is one of those hard holidays for me. I remember what I am missing, mainly my late-husband, Otto.

The one thing that sticks with me about him was his sense of humor.  The other thing was that he loved animals. Tequila, the little Chihuahua in his arms, would run up to him every evening and he would pick her up and hold her. She would sigh and he would relax.

The feral cats in the apartment complex would come and visit. The day he went into the hospital for the last time, three of the cats came to say goodbye.

He had even made friends with the Scrub Jays by supplying them with peanuts. He used to tell me that most people didn’t look up. There was so many things happening above us. Even now I remember the names of birds and their calls, just because he would point them out to me when I was so sick that I couldn’t even remember my own name.

The hurt never completely goes away.

I know I am a better person for having known him. I just wish every day that he was still here.

 

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Memorial Day Weekend

Today I took a shower and walked Foxy, the little chihuahua. I am only mentioning these two things because I usually need an hour rest between these two actions. Even so I am a little out of breath and my heart is beating faster than usual.

It is hard to be alone. I envy the chronic illness patients who are able to survive without a companion. Part of the reasons I need someone is that much of my mind is occupied with other things. I am not happy unless I am creating. It has been hard to create when I am grieving, which brings me to my real post of honor, duty, and promises.

My late-hubby did not die on the battlefield of Vietnam. Plus he was very aware of the capriciousness of life. Even though I know in my heart that Agent Orange from his tours in Vietnam caused his early death (67), I have been unable to get anyone else to agree. In his own words he said that “we drank it, ate it, and bathed in it. Agent Orange was in everything.” He didn’t die on the battlefield, but he and many Vietnam Vets are dying from the battlefield.

I honor those who fought and gave the ultimate sacrifice. I honor those who fought and gave their health. I honor all those who now pay the price everyday in cancers, fatigue, and chronic illnesses. They gave all.

Every generation my family gives one or two family members to the military. My great uncle died in WWII and is buried in Belgium. My grandfather lost a lot of friends in WWII when his ship sunk in Leyte Gulf. He is gone now.

If I go back far enough, we have family members who fought in the Revolutionary War. My late-hubby’s family had a patriarch that died in the Civil War. Some families gave more than others.

I remember. I hope to instill this pride to my nieces and nephews and now my great-nieces and nephews.

There are no guarantees in life and war. There are no guarantees in death. Remember our dead and know that this sacrifice was to allow the Great Experiment to continue– freedom and justice.

A Time of Remembrance

cyngrandparents

Grandma Alice, Me, Grandpa Earl in 1988

The main story in my family for years was my Grandpa’s stories about his Navy time during WWII. He was in one of the converted aircraft carriers that were sunk in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

According to his story, his best friend was in the radio room when one of the missiles struck the side of the ship and went through the radio room.

My grandfather was a radar operator and technician. At the time radar was a secret weapon.

My grandfather was delivering a message so he wasn’t in the radio room, but his friend was killed. They spent three days in the ocean waiting for rescue on very small rescue floats. They were not like boats because the sailors sat on the edge with their feet inside the boat. They had shark watch and would hit the sharks on the nose with paddles. They lost several people in the water from wounds and dehydration.

Both my father and I served in the US Navy. He was in at the end of the Korean War. I was in during the Gulf War and Operation Just Cause. I was also in Panama a few months after Just Cause so I have seen a war-torn country during a rebuilding.

Because of my grandpa’s stories, I have respect for all those who have fought and died for our country. I was appalled at the flag-burning in my youth and I would be appalled now with abuse of the flag. Not because I worship the flag– what an idiot idea… but because of what the flag represents– freedom. Freedom is one of the main themes of my life. I know that not everyone wants or even desires to be free. I just want to give the option to those who want it.

So thanks to those that died to make this country free from the Revolutionary War to today. Thanks.

The Blood of Heroes Never Dies

A patriotic duty–
young men and young women
sent to Iraq and Afghanistan

Saw the devastation
perpetrated by terrorists
against America

our dead – our young
their caskets draped in flags
their blood spattered on foreign lands

No more – we see their faces
No more – we hear their voices

Take one moment
pin the poppy
remember the loss and mourn —

First published on Associated Content in May 2011. (Now called Yahoo Contributor Network)

Memorial Day: War sung by Edwin Star

I wish a happy Memorial Day to all those who have served and are still serving in the armed forces. I am ending this with my husband’s favorite Vietnam War protest song. My husband did three tours in Vietnam as a young man. I wish good healing to the Vietnam and Iraqui war vets. It is a long road back.

War…huh…yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Uh ha haa ha
War…huh…yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutley nothing…say it again y’all
War..huh…look out…
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing…listen to me ohhhhh

WAR! I despise,
‘cos it means destruction of innocent lives,
War means tears to thousands of mother’s eyes,
When their sons gone to fight and lose their lives.

I said WAR!…huh…good God y’all,
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing…say it again
War! Huh…What is it good for (Edwin sings ‘Wohh oh Lord’ over the top)
Absolutely nothing…listen to me

WAR! It ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker,
War. Friend only to the undertaker.
Ohhh! War is an enemy to all mankind,
The thought of war blows my mind.
War has caused unrest within the younger generation
Induction then destruction…who wants to die? Ohhh

WAR! good God y’all huh
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing…say it say it SAY IT!
WAR!…uh huh yeah hu!
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing…listen to me

WAR! It ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker,
War! It’s got one friend that’s the undertaker.
Ohhhh! War has shattered many a young man’s dream,
Made him disabled, bitter and mean,
Life is much too short and precious to spend fighting wars these days.
War can’t give life, it can only take it away!

Ohhh WAR! huh…good God y’all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing…say it again
War!…huh…woh oh oh Lord
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing…listen to me

War! It ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker,
War. Friend only to the undertaker…woo
Peace lovin’ understand then tell me,
Is there no place for them today?
They say we must fight to keep our freedom,
But Lord knows there’s got to be a better way.

Ohhhhhhh WAR! huh…good God y’all…
What is it good for?…you tell me!
Say it say it say it saaaay it!
War! good God now…huh
What is it good for?
Stand up and shout it…NOTHING

Source: http://www.lyricsdownload.com/edwin-starr-war-lyrics.html