Sunday, May 27, 2012

Never forgetting...

Memorial Day.

This day always always makes me think about my Pepa. I grew up to war stories. Pepa was bigger than life in my world, and his stories were also.

I wish I had taken notes. I always thought about it as he was recounting those days, but I would just get lost in listening and think "Next time. Next time I'll write 'em down." All of a sudden, next time did not happen because Alzheimer's took away his stories and his speech.

So I remember bits and pieces. Tales of the island where he was stationed. Tales of his fellow servicemen. Funny stories of one portly sailor friend grabbing his food as they were being bombed, before he jumped for cover. Stories of the long long hours when nothing happened. Stories tinged with pride, remembering how he truly served his country. When I grew older, the stories were darker, stories of war. Not the funny or nostalgic stories, but stories of death and what it does to the men left behind.

I have a picture tucked away of my Pepa when he came back from the islands. Handsome devil, puffed up with pride in his Navy uniform, cigarette dangling from his lip, and a smile on his face. I have a flag he gave Nate eight years ago, right before the Alzheimer's really started taking him from us. And I have my memories.

Happy Memorial Day and a heartfelt thank you to everyone who sacrifices for us.

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