My Uncle Warren and my father. They were best friends, and served in World War two. Part of what Tom Brokaw dubbed “The Greatest Generation”. My Uncle Warren died this year, after his wife, my Aunt Tula died. He came out to visit us in September, part of what I know he knew to be his farewell tour. He told us that. When my mom and I went to the airport to pick him up, he was coming down the jetway in a wheel chair. When he saw us, he asked the stewardess who was pushing the chair, to please stop. He got up, and walked the rest of the way. The rest of the time he was here, he walked. He believed in not showing others his pain. He kept always trying to show strength, and face things with enthusiasm. He smiled in the most dire circumstance. He said things like, “We make our plans, and God smiles”. Another thing he said, “I went looking for myself, but I couldn’t find me. I went looking for God, but couldn’t find he. When I went to help my brother, I found all three.” His funeral was long, and people recounted stories, and it was the first funeral I’ve been to that I never wanted to end. And once again, as he did in life, he brought our family together.
My father is waning. The wars he has fought are nothing he has liked to talk much about, and now I think the memory of any of it is gone. Though dubbed “The Greatest Generation”, my father continues to insist his greatest work is his family, his children. And that is a hopeful thing, because I feel the same way about my children. I think we honor the past by building the future. So I wanted to share that with you. Happy Memorial Day.