Spent much of the day with the History Channel watching Battlefield 360 focus on the WWII invasion of Sicily. Then I started to work on updating a new Memorial Day image for the Hawgleg Websites… and then -- a few beers in me -- I read "In Flanders Fields." Must admit, there are a few tears in my eyes.
Earlier, I had thought of my grand dad. We weren't particularly close (he'd left my dad when he was a kid -- started a new family and all that). But I do remember his stories of WWII. He wasn't allowed to serve. He worked on the railroad in El Paso and, as a member of "essential industry," he was not allowed to enlist. He had tried, but was flat out denied. I remember his stories of the troop trains that passed through in the middle of the night. That he would catch a few winks in a boxcar, pulling a 48-hour shift, and had some of the hobos wake him when the next train went through. He talked about the USO girls who were there, brewing coffee and handing it up in buckets (a few tin cups attached by long strings) through the windows to the thirsty GIs shipping out to the West Coast. There was no passenger station in the yards, so the women had to make do with open fires and what supplies they could muster. The men weren't allowed off the trains (although the "porters," corporals in charge of the cars, I think, would let some of them off on the side opposite the women so they could go relieve themselves before the train got underway again.
Anyway, I suppose I'm just a bit sentimental tonight… thinking about people who "gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God…, shall not perish from the earth."
God bless everyone -- past, present, and future -- who has fallen in the name of justice and liberty.