11 November 2010

I am reminded...

We had a Veterans Day assembly at school today, the first one I remember us ever having. I headed toward the gym with a bit of anxiety. I knew I'd start thinking of my sweet grandfathers who fought in World War 2 and that my eyes would probably well up with tears. While I am a rather emotional person, I just didn't want to cry at work in front of my colleagues and 1,800 teenagers.

I did okay until the marching band played and I was hit by a memory I hadn't thought of in a long time. I think it was the year Ryan and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We met my parents and grandparents in Eureka Springs and went to the local auditorium for a concert. My mother was in a little community choir, and if I remember right, they were doing a patriotic-themed show. They sang a montage of the songs for each branch of the military and asked veterans in the audience to stand when their branch's song came up. I still clearly see my little Papaw, survivor of the Bataan Death March and three and a half years as a prisoner of the Japanese, stand up during the Army's song. This sweet man, not much taller than I, had braved the horrors of war and come through on the other side...became a father and a grandfather, a great-grandfather even...became this proud and brave but older man standing in a tiny theatre in Arkansas with others who had done the same. He's been gone since 2004.

Our band did something similar at school this morning, and I couldn't even look down to the gym floor to see which men and women stood when. I just missed my Papaw so badly at that moment, and if I looked I would have cried. Hard. But I'll be thinking of him all day today, and my Grandpa Jude, too. I, of course, have much respect and appreciation for all who have served this way, but it's those two soldiers who I'll always have the most for...my love and affection besides.


Polly said...

It sounds like your Papaw led a valiant and amazing life! You have every right to be so proud!!!

Stop by my blog Hayley....I'm having a giveaway and would love for to have a chance to win!!



Karee said...

I wish I could have been there. It is amazing that your grandpa survived all that he did. I am thankful that he did though. He must have been quite the man. Quite the hero!

trash talk said...

Hayley, you touched my heart strings with this post. I could picture every detail in my mind and girl...I'm crying with you. My daddy served in the Phillipines during WWII and I heard may stories of the Bataan Death March. A lovely gentleman who I went to church with had survived it as well. He didn't talk about it a lot other than to say he would never eat a piece of rice again as long as he lived. All these memories flooded my mind while reading. We must never forget those who work so hard at protecting us and our freedom...ever!
P.S. God bless your grandfathers.

Paper Dolls said...

I know a man, W.F. Matthews from Texas that is still living and is also a survivor of a Japanese Prison camp. He also was captive for 3 1/2 years. It amazes me that these men were ever able to get back to some sort of normal and live such long lives. W.F. is a big man but was only skin and bones upon release. He is in a photo that one of major news networks carried several years ago and it is horrific. He always gives God the credit for his survival and is a very kind man.Your post reminded me of him!


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