An American Soldier
Known But To God
[note: Today is my Father’s 79th birthday, God Rest Him. He’s buried in a Veteran’s Cemetery in Maryland that I can’t make it to – again – this year to visit. Like so many days, he sleeps alone again on this year’s Memorial day observance.
What follows is a piece I originally did at RedState back in ’07 that I’ve uncovered and wish to bring back in memory of my Dad, and all the Moms and Dads we honor this day.
I love you Dad, and I miss you. Here’s a sip of your favorite in a toast to chuckling over whether you wound up with the angel’s you feared God was planning to assign to you…and wondering how that’s all working out for you 🙂]
Memorial day means a lot of things to a lot of people, but first and foremost, it means remembering Soldiers and the sacrifices they have made and continue to make for all of US. It’s not glamorous, doesn’t often bode well on the front page, and is rarely the kind of thing you talk to your kids about when you tuck them in bed. Without them, however, none of us could begin to imagine what our lives would be like.
I, like my Grandfather, was too young for one war and too old for the next. In between, I made a life and grew a family, and did what I could to support those who WERE wearing the uniform on my behalf, and in my stead. I thank God for them, and remember them in my prayers every day. Today, as I take out the triangular flag, neatly wrapped in a zippered plastic bag courtesy of the US Government, and brush off the dust, I remember my Father Richard.
He was no particular hero; he wore no distinguished medals and he never killed enemies in battle. He was a Sailor during the Korean conflict, and he never came across enemy fire. But he wore the uniform and he served his country, and he was my Father and to me he will always be an American Patriot and a true Hero among men. I remember him today, along with the countless men and women who served before and the ones that serve still.
Dad once told me that joining the Military was all at once the best and worst thing he had ever done. Best because “this 18 year old needed some discipline” and worst because he went off into the “cold cruel world” all alone. The loneliness wore off soon enough, but the homesickness never did, and the appreciation for family and home and familiarity only got stronger by the day. He toured all around the world, met countless people in countless lands, and left the Navy after his stint to find work and feed his family. He never regretted his service, and talked of it from time to time with a wistful and fond remembrance.
He never had much use for politicians (perhaps it IS a genetic predisposition), but of the things he DID respect, Richard considered Memorial day to be about the FINEST idea they ever came up with. And, watching the changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetery ON Memorial day was to his mind the finest display of human dignity, respect, and honor man could ever bestow on his fellow.
My dedication to this sacred duty is total and wholehearted. In the responsibility bestowed on me never will I falter. And with dignity and perseverance my standard will remain perfection.
Through the years of diligence and praise and the discomfort of the elements, I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my ability. It is he who commands the respect I protect. His bravery that made us so proud.
Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day alone in the thoughtful peace of night, this soldier will in honored glory rest under my eternal vigilance.
On this Memorial Day, I remember my Father, Richard. I remember all those who came before him…and I especially remember those who stand the ready still.
[inline image courtesy of Arlington Cemetery website ]