5.25.2009

Happy Memorial Day

My grandpa, Raymond Meyer was drafted into the army during World War II when my grandma was pregnant with their first child. He cleaned up the beaches of Normandy with a backhoe. He was enlisted as a Heavy Equipment Officer to operate heavy machinery, but at the Battle of the Bulge so many Americans had been killed that he was handed a service weapon and told, "Congratulations. You're an infantryman now. Start shooting." He came home and met for the fist time, my aunt who was now 4 years old. He worked incredibly hard, manual labor jobs (sometimes 2 at a time) his whole life in order to support his family. He could fix absolutely everything and had never even taken his car for an oil change at a shop until he was nearly 85 years old and we made him. He had saved enough to retire at age 50 and travel for many years. He never complained about anything. Ever. He was about 88 years old before he even mentioned that he had been awarded the Medal of Valor while still overseas and before he could return home, the building which housed his files that contained the medal burned down. He never asked for a new one. He died when he was 91 years old and he never missed voting in a single election during his adulthood. He wore an American flag pin on his lapel every single day from September 11, 2001 until the day he died. He loved this country more than anyone I have ever known. And he taught his family that you things because they are the right thing, the responsible thing to do.....not because people are going to thank you for it. Because they may not.


So every year on Memorial Day I take my girls to the cemetery where grandpa is buried. We watch the American Legion put out row after row of flags, we say the pledge of allegiance and listen to them play Taps. We talk about grandpa and how great he was (and we remind Lauren that the Shafter cemetery is not heaven. Only grandpa's body is here. *sigh*) It's our way of saying thank you. We love you and miss you grandpa. And we are so thankful for everything you did!

3 comments:

Kourtni said...

What an amazing story and legacy. I love your Memorial Day tradition. I think it's so important to teach our children these things... especially in today's society. The "me" generation. Happy Memorial Day.

~ Kati :) said...

I'm inspired! My grandpa died when I was 6 so it's not as close to home...great entry Cheri, as usual!!

Sunny said...

That is such an awesome story to share with your girls! I really need to teach my kids what these holidays are all about and take them to events like this.

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