Friday, May 22, 2009

Priceless sacrifice....

Hot dogs, burgers, charcoal and the fixin's: $35.00
(If I DON'T go to the store hungry...)

One gallon of gas today as the "official" start
to the Memorial Day Weekend: $2.34

The freedom to enjoy the grill, drive our cars, worship as
we see fit and numerous other wonderful things
we get to do as Americans: PRICELESS.

My grandpa was a veteran of WWII. He landed on Normandy Beach as a medic. He saw things that were inhuman and unmentionable. He fought for his country and lived to tell about it. Only he didn't. And I understand why.

As a senior in high school I had a chance to sign up for the trip to France with my french class. We had NO money and there was no way I could go. At my grandparents house one day my grandpa wanted to see the itinerary when I told him they were going. He reviewed it, looked at me square in the eye for what seemed like eternity and said nothing. He then looked at my grandma and said "Write her a check." I was shocked....and so excited.

He said he'd pay for me to go on one condition. I had to take pictures of certain things. He wanted to see how those places had changed. The big one? Normandy Beach. He wanted to see it in peaceful times. Without the soldiers and the yuck.

So I went. A naive 18 year old kid without a clue in the world about what I was really seeing and what I was giving back to my grandpa. I took pictures as he asked. I was in awe of the cemetery at Normandy Beach and the thousands of white crosses all lined up in perfect order. I had no full understanding of what I was seeing.

My grandpa did.

He knew some of those buried soldiers, no doubt. He may have played cards with them or drank a beer or two with them. He may have laughed with them and no doubt cried with them. I will never know. He never said.

When I got home I showed him the pictures. I can still very clearly see him sitting in his beloved Lazyboy pouring over them. Without a sound he would flip the pages of the photo album. Once in a while he would look a little longer....pausing on something he saw. He never really said what he was thinking as he looked. But I could see the tears, ever so small, in his eyes. I could see the look on his face. He was remembering. He was reliving. And I truly believe that he was healing.

I was so lucky to have the experience of going to France for three weeks that summer. Until now, I never realized how lucky. I miss my grandpa very much. He was an ornery old coot but I loved him.

My grandpa was a soldier in the United States Army. My grandpa is my hero.

And you know what's funny? Mark was also in the United States Army. He was also a medic. I wonder how much influence my grandpa had on putting us together from heaven! :0) He would be so proud.

To all the soldiers who served in war time and in peace, THANK YOU. For all you've done, for all you're doing and all that you are going to do, THANK YOU.


(picture by Linda Garrison, About.com)



3 comments:

Billy Coffey said...

Amen.

I've known many veterans of wars, and few ever speak of what they did or saw. It's a testament to their bravery and sacrifice. They suffered so we wouldn't have to.

Great post, Click.

Frisbies Forever said...

Tis true. They never do talk about it. Females either. I am grateful for what they have done so that we can be free. I think their silence is indicative of the great love, respect and honor that they possess.

Jennifer said...

You not only take a great picture, but you tell a great story. Thank you for sharing this one with your readers. I've been blessed.