The Sicilian, aka my husband for those who are new to this blog, retired several years ago. I think he is becoming an old man. He yells at the nightly news on TV until I say, “Do I need to shut off this program?” He has a growing collection of short pencils with no erasers from the golf course.
“Why don’t you take leave then at the golf course?” I ask.
“I never remember them,” he responds.
He saves small broken pieces of plastic, loose screws, and bits of paper with writing he can’t decipher. I find these in his sock drawer, pockets, and the washer or dryer; I toss them away. The coins from his pockets that rattle in the dryer are mine. On a good week I can earn 75 cents.
I’m never sure what will trigger his next rant, which is what makes my life exciting. Thankfully his ravings are not directed toward me, but it is impossible to ignore them as his volume rattles the goblets in the china cupboard. Like most Sicilians, he talks with his hands and has no volume control.
For the past two weeks he’s been yelling at the TV when commercials for Memorial Day Sales appear. The Sicilian is a veteran, having served almost four years in the USAF, and while he disdains the time he spent in the service of his country, he strongly believes car sales, parties, and festivals should not be part of the one day a year we remember the brave men and women who gave their life in defense of our country. I agree with him.
“This is not the time to sell mattresses. Buy a car or a new appliance,” he screams again at the TV. “I bet most the people in this country don’t even know what Memorial Day is?”
I respond with, “Supper is coming along. Should be ready in about ten minutes.”
“Not that any one cares, but the flag is to be flown at half-staff in the morning, and at noon is raised to full staff.”
“I read in the paper that a group is putting flags on every grave in the Chalmette National Cemetery,” I said.
“Probably the VFW. Which post? My VFW used to do that.”
“Why don’t you transfer your membership to the post down the street?” I ask.
“No way. I don’t have anything in common with those people. They are a pack of beggars.”
“Your friend Charlie is in the VFW,” I say.
“That’s different. He doesn’t make a big deal about it. Real Veterans don’t talk about their service all the time. My dad never mentioned his WWII service.”
“Yeah, and now you wish he had.”
He’s silent, knowing I have spoken the truth. Our recent trip to the Ardennes was to trace his Dad’s service in the Battle of the Bulge.
For those who care: Memorial day is not the day we remember all veterans, that is reserved for Veteran’s Day on November 11th. This was originally called Armistice Day as it marked the Armistice of WWI, which occurred in the 11th month, on the 11th day, at 11 a.m.
Memorial day is not the day we honor those serving in the military today, that is done on Armed Forces Days. Armed Forces Day was instituted in 1949 by President Truman to replace each branch of the military having a special day. It is always the 3rd Saturday in May.
This Monday is Memorial Day, the one day a year we officially honor the brave men and women who died in defense of this country. Most of these people lost their lives in foreign lands, which earned them a small piece of that land in one of our National Cemeteries. This is their day. Friends we met in Belgium are decorating graves of fallen Americans they have adopted. Men and women they never knew, but earned liberty for them. How can we do less? Take a few moments Monday to remember and be thankful for the countless thousands that gave their all for our country.
Photos of American Cemetary near Omaha Beach.