Tag: Rememberance

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. 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.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. 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.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. 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.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. 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.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. 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.