Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day, May 25, 2009

"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace"
John Lennon

Something happened last night that was a little out of our usual routine. Actually it was a lot out of our routine. PBS had a Memorial Day salute that started at 8:00pm. When I pulled out the cards for our nightly game of Rummy, Dad said, "Let's go watch the show."

"Whoa," I said to myself surprised that something shook him out of his normalcy. I also sent up a private prayer of gratitude that Sweetie thought to mention the show.

So there we all sat, together in one room, eyes and ears peeled to the TV. I have to admit I am a sucker for a military band. I won't go so far to say I'm orgasmic when I hear the USMC piccolo player "triple tongue" his/her solo of the Stars and Stripes Forever. But I am not ashamed to say I cry almost every time I hear it. (Not being a good enough flute player to do that song justice is one of my life's disappointments. Oh well, life goes on!)

We sat quietly, as if in church, listening to the music and stories of fallen heroes dating back to the Civil War. We paid our own silent tribute to men known and unknown who have died preserving this country's freedom. And when the Battle Hymn of the Republic played, I heard dad singing, barely above a whisper, "glory hallelujah." I tried to freeze-frame the moment. Only time will tell if I am able to remember it.

I come from a military family. I was married to a man with aeronautical "right stuff" - a U.S. Naval helicopter pilot. I have known and loved both men and women who wear the uniform(s) of our country. I am lucky in that I have only on a rare occasion known anyone who lost his/her life while in service.

Today, I give thanks to the people who fought and died; to their families - the backbone of the American soldier, the reason they do what they do; to the ones who right this very minute are in harm's way. I pray that God will bring them home safely and that the day will come when, we can all live in peace.

Today I acknowledge with love and gratitude
these members of my family (in no particular order) who answered Uncle Sam's call:
RADM. C.E. Aldrich, USN
CAPT. L.S. Reynolds, USN
CAPT J.D. Ellington, USN
LT. Mick Shrock, USN
CDR. Stephen D. Shrock, USN
LCDR. C.E. Aldrich, II, USN
LCOL. D.S. Aldrich, USMC
J.A. Ellington, USA
CAPT. Stephen Warner, USMC
Specialist Jack D. Cook, USA
Jack D. Cook, Jr., USN
Russell Luedke, USN
CDR. Blair Gibson, USN
LT. Ron Drew, USN
C.L. Reynolds, USN
"Stud" Reynolds, USA (Civil War)
Earl Reynolds, USA
J.C. Webb, USA
Kevin Kreuger, USN
J. Todd Green, USN
Lauren Webster, USA

I also extend the same sentiment to those friends with whom I shared the military experience. We shared the good times and the bad. Together we laughed, we cried together, we drank too many rum and cokes, we sang God Bless America, we traveled through Europe, moved back and forth across the country and watched our babies grow up. There are way too many of you to name here. I think you know who you are. Thank you for your gifts of friendship and service.

I conclude with this quote by Mastin Kipp from "The peace that we seek can only be brought forth by shining the light of love on the dark side of our fears and knowing we must do the same for anyone we consider an enemy." If you want to read the whole post go here.

Praying for the day we'll live in peace regardless of our color, our religion, our sexuality, our politics, etc.

Kumbaya, Merry ME
P.S. This post got my dad to thinking about relatives who served in the military. He came up with 2 names but little information about them -Jaunita and Emma Francis, both nee Reynolds, Jaunita, he thinks was in the Woman's Army Corps and Emma Francis in a military band - or maybe she just played for the USO! She had something to do with a band!

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