Tag: Rememberance

A Rush Listener Remembers


On Wednesday morning, Feb. 17, 2021, I remember turning on the radio to listen to “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” My wife was with me, and when she heard Rush’s wife, Kathryn’s, voice, she grabbed my hand and started to cry. Instinctively, she knew the news Kathryn was about to impart. I believe I was in denial, as I tried to reassure my wife that Kathryn was on to let Rush’s listeners know about his health status. It had been awhile since he had hosted his show, and I just knew his cancer treatments were taking a toll but that he would be back soon. To my dismay, my wife was correct.

Even though I knew that day would come, you can never prepare for such gut-wrenching news. In my world, “The Rush Limbaugh Show” was an almost daily occurrence. I counted on his wisdom and wit to help me repel the liberal, biased media bombardment conservatives endure. I took it for granted that he would always be there, advocating for traditional American values, shining light into the darkness and deceit in which liberals and progressives operate. With all the obstacles he overcame during his career and life, surely he could beat back his cancer. But God had other plans. His talent he loaned Rush was now due, and in God’s infinite wisdom, it was time for Rush to come home.

On the Passing of a Leader: David C. Richardson


VADM_David_C_Richardson_USNI ordinarily confine my contributions here on Ricochet to law enforcement matters, about which I feel qualified to offer opinions. But permit me to stray from that realm for the moment and tell you just a bit about David C. Richardson, who passed away in June at the age of 101. I had the honor of attending his memorial service in San Diego on July 16.

In the late summer of 1942, Richardson was a young Navy pilot assigned to VF-5, the “Fighting Five,” a fighter squadron aboard the USS Saratoga. Flying a Grumman F4F Wildcat, Richardson flew missions during the Guadalcanal campaign, downing four Japanese planes and becoming one of the Navy’s first combat pilots in the Second World War.

When the Saratoga was torpedoed and unable to recover her aircraft, the squadrons that were airborne at the time were directed elsewhere. Some went to the Enterprise and other carriers, but the pilots of VF-5 were directed to Henderson Field, a Marine air base on Guadalcanal. Richardson and some other members of VF-5 remained there for several weeks, flying combat missions during the day and enduring regular bombardment from Japanese warships at night.

Beit Alamin: Remembrance on the Eve of Yom HaShoah


360px-Förföljelsernas_offer,_Östra_kgMy grandmother had sad eyes and a big mouth, and she sang solemn songs in forgotten German. She would take me on walks across the cemetery — “beit alamin,” in Hebrew — right across from her house, and let me play with the pebbles and rocks in her right jacket-pocket.

Her name was Lucy, and she read the obituaries every morning. She told me it was to make sure her name wasn’t in there. I remember it scaring me, thinking that life or death was not decided upon before we had gone through every page. She read each name out loud as she sipped her coffee, and I followed her with bated breath, waiting to see if I would get to keep her.

I still take those walks. Cemeteries are like libraries, one of few places where people still lower their voices and think of an existence beyond their own. A place where you are not expected to meet the gaze of the passers by. But when you do there’s a nod, and then silence, once again.

A Century of Goodbyes


When I visited my last remaining grandparent this summer, she asked if I knew she turned 100. “Yes,” I said, speaking loudly so she could hear, “that’s so great!” “No, not really,” she replied quietly. “I’m tired, Jon. I’m ready.”

A sad moment, but I understood. Elma Aliina Teppo was born a month after Charlie Chaplin’s film debut. Three months before Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. She survived both world wars and a cold war, the Great Depression and several not-so-great ones. Two spouses, five kids and countless grandkids. A life well lived. But her friends and siblings had been gone for several years. It had been a century of goodbyes, and she was ready.

If The Wall Could Speak


Rays of sunlight burst from above, bathing the very air itself with my spirit as the deep rumble of a motorcycle across the lot heralds the arrival of another veteran. He just parked his bike, regarding me from across the parking lot. Sometimes they walk right up to me, and I recognize them, though the lines in their face betray the years and the pain, their eyes searching for a brother in arms. Sometimes they walk all 288 feet, though often times the emotions overwhelm them and they have to break away. Other times, however, their grief is too strong and they watch me from a distance before riding away in silence.

Very seldom do I hear someone say that a comrade or loved one’s name is etched in these panels. Instead, they say, “My grandfather is on the wall,” or as one Purple Heart Recipient said yesterday, his eyes welling up, “twelve of my friends are up there.” I see all who gaze my direction. I remember the time my granddaughter came to visit. She was born long after after I arrived here, of course, and I recognized her long before she saw my name. It hurt harder than anything to see the tears stream down her young face.

Missing Mom


shutterstock_178577732This is the first Mother’s Day since my mom died. When the phone rings at 12:30 a.m., you know it won’t be someone delivering good news. When that call came in the small hours of a Friday morning a few months ago, I knew the instant the phone rang what the news would be. I had been expecting it.

It may sound odd, but I was lucky to be expecting it. Unlike so many, I had been given the chance to say good-bye.

I had gotten another phone call the previous Monday. You should come, I was told, your mom isn’t doing well. She was 89, but for the most part her health had been good. She had even recovered from a bout of pneumonia a few months earlier, an occasion that had brought a similar phone call and a hurried trip to the assisted living facility where Mom spent her last years. When someone is 89 and gets pneumonia, it’s usually time to start making arrangements. But she wasn’t ready to go then, and she said so. And she sprang back to a level of health that amazed everyone who knew her. So after a few days with her last October, I went home grateful for the false alarm.