My grandfather was a WWI veteran and a founding member of the William McKinley American Legion Post in Chicago. When he died in 1988, his friends from the post showed up to honor him as pallbearers. When the minister had finished his blessing at the cemetery and was about to send the mourners to lunch, one of the legion members, a little white-haired man (in his nineties I imagine, as Grandpa had been) with his legion cap at a rakish angle, stepped forwarded and admonished the minister to “Hold on sonny.” Then he produced a tape player, pushed a button, and played Taps. (And we all cried a little more. )
Several years later when my father-in-law died, he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with military pallbearers and a 21-gun salute. It was a small, dignified and extremely moving ceremony. I had been to Arlington before as a tourist and I have been there since to bury my mother-in-law. It has never been possible for me to walk those rows of white markers without being silenced by the sense of duty, honor and loss that this military cemetery represents.
My dad was a WWII veteran and the only decoration on his grave marker, beyond his name and dates, is the insignia of the Army Corps of Engineers he so proudly wore. My uncle was also a WWII veteran and when he died a decade ago, my husband called the William McKinley American Legion Post, where he was also a member, and they showed up with flags and arranged for a sailor from Great Lakes to play Taps at his graveside. (Cue the tissues.)
None of these men were “suckers” or “losers.” Nor was the boy from across the street who played football with my son, went off to college and then joined the army. His job in Iraq was to locate and secure IED’s. He brought everyone on his team home safely.
They were soldiers and sailors who did their job. They were and are proud of the uniform and proud of their service. There are millions more veterans and service men and women, some surely more battle-tested than these. And we are proud of all of them.
I have tried hard not to be political in this season. Politics don’t necessarily fit with my vision of Ivy & Ironstone. But the allegations from the White House, of “suckers” and “losers,” pale in the face of politics. And I understand that they are “allegations.” But, after the last three and a half years, is there any reason not to believe them?
Stay safe & see you again soon.
10 thoughts on “Back on my soapbox”
Sad day when the living has to defend our dead military men and women. Thank you for speaking for them — this is not politics but patriotism and loyalty. What has this country come to? VOTE!
Yes, it is a sad day.
Beautifully put. My Brother’s marker also denotes his rank of Staff Sargent. They played taps & had the 21 gun salute at his funeral. Very moving. I used to live in Alexandria and the bus I took to school( I was studying French) went thru Arlington. It was 1967-68. Not a day went by that there wasn’t at least one service going on there. Often heard taps when going by for one of our Vietnam vets. So very sad. We must vote in November! I am fearful for our country if things continue the way they are!
Thank you, Julie. I’m sorry to say I was unaware of your brother. I just could not stay quiet on this. Their are a million good reasons not to vote for this man, but this is so terribly unpatriotic. It defies description.
This was very well thought out and written. I agree totally.
I am counting the minutes until election day. It can’t come soon enough. Great post.
Thanks, Katie. It’s good to have you back!
Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?
I agree wholeheartedly! I am terrified we will have 4 more years with this hateful man. I just can’t understand why people still support him. It is so disheartening. Thank you for speaking up.