This weekend we take time to remember. Families will be placing flowers at the gravestones of loved ones and friends will be gathering to remember and celebrate the unofficial beginning of summer. But this weekend is truly about remembering those soldiers who have lost their lives serving our country.
I don’t have any family members in the military, not past or present. I don’t have anyone to share their stories of service with me. But I am profoundly moved by those families who have loved ones serving in the military, especially in this day and age. No matter how one feels about war on foreign soil, it’s the soldier and his/her family that needs to be respected and honored.
I remember when the war in Iraq began, one of the national news stations listed those soldiers that had died by saying their names and hometowns. But then the number of young men and women who sacrificed their lives were too numerous to logistically name on the evening news. My heart aches for the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, aunts, uncles, cousins who know the names … even if we don’t. The loss of one life rippling out to bring sadness to so many. A person willing to give his/her life defending the freedoms we hold so dear. (Over 4400 soldiers have died in Iraq and just over 3000 in Afghanistan.)
I have friends whose children or spouses are overseas. I marvel at their ability to keep the home fires burning knowing the danger their soldier faces. Still, young men and women volunteer to serve our country every day.
I am honored by their willingness to protect and defend our country. They will never know that one writer in southern New England and her family are praying for their safe return to their families. But I pray for them and peace for the ones who love them none the less.
I hope everyone in the US has a wonderful long weekend enjoying recreational time with their families. But I hope in all the reverie of the weekend you pause to remember those soldiers who are not only separated from their families, but may very well be in harm’s way this weekend. God Bless each and every one of them.
I’m going to admit right here that I’m horrible with history. I remembered enough of it in high school to do well on the tests and promptly forgot it. As an adult I regret not seeing the value of understanding my country’s history. But eh, what does a 16 year old know about a 50 year old woman’s regrets? LOL!
But Pearl Harbor Day has become a personal experience for me that has touched my heart. Ten years ago today, I was in Hawaii visiting Mr. Nina’s great uncle. Though the man wasn’t in Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack, his boat was the first to arrive in the harbor. I can’t imagine the horrors he saw that day. He doesn’t talk about it.
But the morning of December 7, 1991, he pulled a ballcap out of a box in the hall and reverently placed it on his head. It was embroidered with the name of his ship. He wore it only one day a year. We bundled into his car and parked with all of the other visitors and stood in the very long line with the general public at the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Uncle Caesar didn’t think he was anyone special. But as sailors walked by, they stopped and saluted him. Every. Single. One. At one point someone offered to escort him (and his guests) into the VIP area, but he refused. That section was for the real survivors of that day he said.
We sat through the memorial with the rest of the general public. And though I don’t remember the details, I do remember realizing how history was coming to life for me and how moved I was by the number of lives sacrificed that day. We went from there to a small pavilion where plaques for each of the ships and their crews were displayed. Uncle Caesar walked from stone to stone, standing at each for long quiet minutes. I was so moved by the respect the general public offered these men who very obviously were doing the same. I was in tears watching all of this unfold.
We didn’t go out to the memorial. The line was too long and Uncle Caesar and his wife had been out many times. Instead, he drove us to the military base nearby. We drove around looking at the buildings that still stand as a memorial to the attack. Broken windows, scarred brick walls, destruction everywhere. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like on that day. We did stop at one of the lesser known ships that is still in the harbor and spend time there. Uncle Caesar would not talk about that day. He didn’t share what happened when he arrived in the harbor. But I felt it in his solemnity.
I am grateful we got to share this day with a sailor who was actually there. I feel blessed I got live history on that day. Uncle Caesar is still alive and living in Hawaii. His health is not good and though he is not at the memorial today, I have no doubt he is spending time remembering.
Age doesn’t bother me. I’ve never worried about an impending birthday. They come every year, whether I want them to or not. I celebrate the joys of the past year and have hopes for the new one just beginning.
I had a friend just a few months older than me get very depressed on his 25th. He thought his life wasn’t what he had hoped or dreamed. But when I tried to talk to him about it, he got very defensive and told me to wait until I turned 25 (did I mention 3 months later?) and then I could talk to him about aging. Of course 25 came and went, along with 30 and 40 and 45 … still, I don’t regret my life. It is what it is. I make decisions and changes based on the information and experience I have at the time and choose not to look back. Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda gets you nowhere in life. Regret is such a wasted emotion. So some decision didn’t work. See how to change it and move on from there.
So aging isn’t really the issue, I’m okay with it. But my hair … I’m beginning to question. Jamie Lee Curtis is my idol when it comes to real. She’s not embarrassed by who she is. Look at that gorgeous picture of her. She doesn’t look old even though her hair is gray and she has laugh lines. A couple of years ago I thought if she could do it so could I. I’d been coloring my hair for nearly 20 years when I just got tired of the process (and it finally turned gray enough not to look salt and pepper). So I let it grow out.
Lately I’ve found a lot more people jumping up to help me. It’s hard to know if it’s the gray hair or the awkward gait of my MS that brings them out of the woodwork. But I’m thinking I may just go back to coloring my hair blonde. But I thought I’d throw it out there and see what you all think.
Does the gray hair make me look a lot older? Be honest, it’s okay, I can take it. And what do you think of this new trend of women letting their hair go natural? Have you jumped on the bandwagon or as my mother-in-law says, “gray hair is not my thing”.
So I’ve been intimating about my crazy personal life. It’s only been a year since Mr. Nina was unceremoniously let go from an administration job he’d had for over twenty years. In this economy, we were very fortunate he found another job quite quickly. Of course said job moved him 7 hours south to a new state … but it was all good.
I sold our house by spring and joined Mr. Nina in an apartment building. We put our house in storage and began shopping for new homes. How hard could it be? It’s a buyer’s market? Yeah, well, the house we have been trying to buy since May, still isn’t ours. But we keep hoping every paper we sign, every email we send, every month that passes will bring about a closing date. We have so much time invested at this point we hate to walk away, but man, this whole thing is getting ooooooold!
Then we find out our middle daughter, Baby Girl, is pregnant. Yay? Um, no. Bad situation. Long story. Gory details. But good news! We finally convince her to move to RI with us. Moving works perfectly because Little Boy Blue is going back to college and the broken car that is his transportation has been fixed in n. Maine and he can take it back the 3 hours to school.
Off goes the whole Pierce clan on a 7 hour drive to northern Maine to pack Baby Girl and collect fixed car. (Of course the same weekend a hurricane is barrelling up the eastern seaboard.)
After spending a couple hours literally throwing things into bags and boxes, Baby Girl is unhappily packed and Little Boy Blue jumps in car to head back to school. Twenty minutes later Beautiful Girl and I are heading down the road with Baby Girl’s car loaded with boxes and … stuff. But wait! Little Boy Blue’s car died on the side of the road. No oil. No coolant. Mr. Nina goes off to get fluids while I sit in Baby Girl’s car (with flashers on) keeping son company.
Fluids filled. Son’s car starts, but wait. Daughter’s battery is dead. Jump that car. Now both cars are running. But Little Boy Blue’s car temperature continues to run in the red. He drives 55 with heater running and the two cars limp the 3 hour drive to central Maine and get boy child to college. Of course the other car was vibrating so badly, Beautiful Girl can’t feel her hands and we still have 2 more hours of driving to get to southern Maine, racing Irene. (Did I mention there was no working radio or CD player in Baby Girl’s car?)
Needless to say oldest daughter wasn’t too happy she volunteered to drive her sister’s beater of a car down to southern Maine. Fortunately, everyone did make it to their destination safely. Well, sort of. Mr. Nina left today for parts Rhode Island, but seeing as most of the state still doesn’t have power, including our apartment, Baby Girl and I are staying put until further notice. We’ll be leaving Baby Girl’s car in Maine and drive my car (which runs quite well thank you) back home. Yeah, my car was in the mix there with the driing situation, but that got too complicated to explain.
Anyway, this is going to be one of those weekends we do as the “remember when” at the Pierce kitchen table for a long while.
And in happier news … how goes your life?
Twice while I lived in Maine hurricanes were scheduled to hit the coast. They shut down the city of Portland right on the coast and warned people inland to get ready. Mr. Nina and I did … we bought extra beer and pizza. Seriously. That night, despite dire warnings against it, we had a party with the other young people in our building complex. In the end, there was a lot of wind. I don’t think there was any rain, because I only remember standing outside in the balmy September night. I suspect the fuzziness of my memories has to do with the extra supplies we’d picked up. LOL!
But Irene is looking like the real deal and this time … I’m really nervous. Of course it doesn’t help that I won’t be here. I’m heading to northern Maine to gather up Baby Girl and get her moved down here with me. (Happy dance!)
So today I’m working to rain proof my apartment as best I can. (I’m worried the windows could blow in.) We’ve got plenty of water and canned food. So I’m not worried about any of that. But my three kitties will be here all by themselves. There’s nothing I can do about it. Hopefully I’m worried over nothing.
What about you? Have you ever been through a big weather event? How did you get through it?
Well it’s finally here. We sold the house in Maine (YAY!) and I’m headed to the beautiful state of Rhode Island. Mr. Nina has been there for five looooong months. Though we’ve seen each other every other weekend, but it’s been hard not being in the same house. But I’m down to counting days until we’re together.
But of course since he’s down there working and I’m here, it’s up to me to get everything packed. UGH! My family (like so many others) has happily accumulated lots of
crap, junk … er, um …. stuff. I have convinced them that moving it all probably isn’t a good idea and between the recycling and charity we have managed at least 5 carloads of loving mementos that are outta here!
Anyway, the point of the blog is to explain to you why I’ve been a little remiss in getting posts up. For the next week I will be share some of my favorite posts from over the years.
I’ll see you all on the other side when I’m settled in an apartment in Rhode Island!