Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Your Grandparents Will Teach You A Lot -- Even After Life

My wife's grandfather just died at age 86.

During his funeral, something happened that gave me a feeling that I get every now and again -- that I should have served in the military.

Blaine W. Evans piloted a B-17 over Germany -- led a crew of 10 in 33 missions. He's been out of the military for 65 years, but the honor that veterans receive is, and should always be, timeless. During the funeral ceremony, two young members of the armed services arrived and walked past the (mostly) old folks attending the funeral. They walked to the front of the room in silence and slowly saluted the urn where Grandpa Blaine's remains were on the table next to an American flag and his picture.

These two, fully decked out in US military uniforms, stood in posed salute while a man walked in front of everyone and played Taps on the trumpet.

It is hard to describe what that feels like -- the appreciation that even the oldest war hero receives in this country -- but every single person in the room was dealing with tears at that moment. To bring this closer to home for the reader, this is what it sounded like:

After Taps, they folded the flag and presented it to the next of kin -- Katie's grandmother, Jean.

There's a confluence of emotions that run through your mind when this is happening -- sadness, patriotism, pride, pain, strength, pain.

I remember when this happened at my grandfather's funeral back in 1997, but I feel like I was maybe too immature to soak its full meaning in.

In the past year, I've felt the happiest I've ever felt about the direction of my country. I've experienced patriotism that is unparalelled in my recent memory. Biking or driving past DC monuments makes my cold godless heart swell with pride.

And this experience with Grandpa Blaine just makes me want to write about it without editing. I'm so lucky to have had him as my wife's grandfather.

God bless his soul.
Lonnie: No matter what anyone's political affiliation is, when they pass the awe-inspiring monuments and memorials in Washington, they SHOULD feel an amazing sense of pride. Those before us were most certainly the "Greatest Generation". Few of us these days have the balls that our recent forefathers had, and we should be thankful every single day for their sacrifices. Whenever I hear Taps, or Amazing Grace, especially on the bagpipes, I well up, because it almost always is memorializing someone who has accomplished superhuman feats, the likes of which I shall probably never experience.
It's not too late to serve your country. You can be a volunteer firefighter or learn EMS skills and do volunteer EMS.
A few times you have mentioned that you are an Atheist. I do not mean this as a disrespect I just found it interesting that you would conclude with "God Bless His Soul."

Yes, I mean that in the figurative sense -- as a well-meaning and commonly-used phrase, I think it fits well.

For example, I still say "Holy cow", even though I'm not a Hindu and don't believe that cows are sacred.

My not-believing in god is not so humorless and serious that I purge all "impure" phrases from my vocabulary.
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