Because of Memorial Day, there were some fantastic news shows on tv. I was watching something on Fox Channel this past weekend where they were interviewing Pearl Harbor survivors. As they spoke to these older gentlemen, who were recalling their horrific experiences, photos were being shown on the screen. As one recalled a good friend he lost in the bombing, they showed a photo of the friend taken sometime I assume while they were in Pearl Harbor because he was wearing a tan uniform and standing on a beach near the water. But I just loved this photo because, as I looked at it more closely, I noticed all these little details. He was a good-looking guy, with dark hair worn slicked back under his military cap. He was holding a cigarette down by his side (you know, back then smoking WAS cool). His belt was cinched in pretty tight which accentuated his muscular upper body, and he stood very straight, staring at the camera, as if to say, “Damn, I’m good and don’t I know it.” And it got me to thinking about how important photos are. Here, all these years later, I didn’t know this man whose photo they were showing on tv, but I “knew” him. I could tell so much about his personality, his looks, his character as a military man, his “way with the ladies” – all those things that his family probably adored about him and missed awfully much after he was killed.
Now, how can I make that meaningful to me today? I think I will try to remember how important it is to capture photos of people, of their being, of who they really are. Yes, zoo pictures and ocean pictures and birthday party pictures are good and important. But let’s try to capture “our” people too, okay? And even better than just a photo in a box, let’s keep scrapbooking them, journaling about them, and making them even more meaningful. I have lost all of my grandparents, and my father, and I only wish someone had captured their essence like this – in a scrapbook – while they were still here with us. Because now all I have is the mystery, the wondering, and the wishing that I could have known more about them. Let’s keep working to not let that happen to our kids or to the generations below us.
Sorry, I just get so emotional on Memorial Day, don’t I? But I do want to say “thank you” from the bottom of my heart to my Grandpa C (WWII) and Grandpa F (WWII and Korea). I wish I could know more of your stories. And thanks forever to my DH, who signed up for the Air Force DURING Desert Storm. Much like those who signed up after 9/11 – knowing they would be serving during wartime – he is the bravest of the brave.
(God Bless the USA!)