It seems to me to be only fitting to watch the National Memorial Day concert every year. So many gave so much - it's the least I can do. And I love patriotic music.
They just finished giving a tribute to Charles Durning, who was always so involved and died in the past year. I remember thinking when it happened what will they do at the concert without him.
They just replayed his speech about what happened when he was in the first wave that hit Omaha Beach on D-Day. I can't imagine the horror they went through.
Last fall, one of my Mom's cousins died, Walter or as everyone in the family called him Jr. - no matter that he was in his 80s. My Mom is from the Westside of town - these people are born there, live there, die there. And are probably as inbred as my Dad's family from Kentucky's hollers. ;) Therefore, if I talk about a family reunion - it wasn't with my grandmother and aunt; it was with my Grandmother's siblings and their families. They would happen a few times a year - so that I knew my great aunts as well as some know their aunts. So Jr. isn't someone that I saw once or twice in life, but a person I saw often enough. We all knew he served in WWII. He was in Europe, and Uncle Eddie was on the Lexington during the battle. However, during his funeral it was mentioned that he landed on Omaha Beach on the afternoon of D-Day. He told his step-daughter there wasn't much to say about it or the foot tour of Europe that followed. But listening to Charles Durning's memories, I realize that Jr. would have seen the same things just a few hours later. Jr. was one of the most mild people you can ever imagine - so to think of him seeing one of the most horrible days of the 20th century - My God, I wish I had known, though I'm not sure what I could have said or done to help.
As a footnote, his step daughter died just a few weeks later. His wife is in the late stages of Alzheimer's and doesn't realize they are both gone, and has no living family outside of the few left of Jr's, so just pray that she is comforted and is in as much peace as she can be in.
Sandy's (his step daughter) obituary