The morning dawned bright and clear, as it had all the years growing up that I remember. Uncle Norman’s flag flew lazily on the light breeze. Red, white and blue brightly silhouetted against that azure Montana sky. Our goal was to march to the flag pole half way down the lane and the family band was getting ready to strike up a rousing rendition of “When The Saints Go Marching In”. Billy on the trombone, Mike on the trumpet, Heidi on the clarinet and Julie on the tenor sax. Jazz band, here we come. Little Matt zipped around us on his BMX.
I’m certain more than one truck driving down Fly Creek got an eye and an earful from the Glaser family that day.
With more than a few missed notes and clarinet squeaks from yours truly we made it up and down the gravel road loudly playing in memory of those who had served. We’d take off our hats, put our hands on our hearts and in sincere and unaffected harmony belt out “The Star Spangled Banner”. In the stillness that followed that last, drawn out note, soberly, Mike would play TAPS. Then we’d eat hotdogs and baked beans, play a game of football, I’d probably go riding. That’s the way it was. School was out and summer was beginning.
All this happened before I was old enough to be embarrassed, before I learned it wasn’t “cool” to be fiercely proud to be an American. Oh the joy of puberty…. Mortification. Bring. It. On.
Sometimes Dad would remind us, in hushed tones, of The War and the wars that followed. He would talk about Uncle LeRoy and how he lied about his age to go fight in the Korean “Conflict”. How Uncle Norman served and how he, himself, had taken his turn in the National Guard before deciding to fight on the spiritual level and start little churches in Montana and Germany.
Memorial Day. Memories for so many reasons, from so many places. It behooves us to remember. To reflect. To give thanks for those who serve us, the silent majority, enjoying this land of the free and home of the brave.
If I could salute properly I would. My heart salutes you, my fellow Americans. My heart remembers you, the fallen. My heart prays for you, those in harms way. It’s because of your service that I can sleep peacefully without fear of the insanity crawling through my window or blowing up the bus at the corner.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. They truly have.
And it is with sadness that I wonder.
How much longer before we are memorializing the death of a nation and the subjugation of those who had served her.