Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day......

I am with out phone and almost Internet today....but that's the way I spend my Memorial Days...I take it seriously....

Never's Not "Happy Memorial Day". It's a day of Remembrance and Honor for those who have fought and died for You and I....

My Family have been Marines since the Inception of the Corps..including Tripoli, says the Sar'Major. Most recently, not including myself, two Grandfathers in WWI, one a pilot and the other a Teufel Hunden at Belleau Wood, Sire a Veteran of 'bout everything including the Bloodiest Campaign in Marine History, Peleliu. Brother Mike, Viet Nam on a River Boat....

That being said, this story from Hog brought tears to my eyes. I figure it will you too. Take a moment today from your fun and Remember them.

With a heartfelt Hat Tip to a Great Porch Monkey over at SondraK', Hog Whitman.

Cemetery Escort Duty

I just wanted to get the day over with and go down to Smokey's for a few
cold ones. Sneaking a look at my watch, I saw the time, 16:55. Five minutes
to go before the cemetery gates are closed for the day. Full dress was hot
in the August sun. Oklahoma summertime was as bad as ever - the heat and
humidity at the same level -- both too high.

I saw the car pull into the drive, '69 or '70 model Cadillac Deville,
looked factory-new. It pulled into the parking lot at a snail's pace.

An old woman got out so slowly, I thought she was paralyzed. She had a cane
and a sheaf of flowers, about four or five bunches as best I could tell.

I couldn't help myself. The thought came unwanted, and left a slightly
bitter taste: "She's going to spend an hour, and for this old soldier, my
hip hurts
like hell and I'm ready to get out of here right now!"

But for this day, my duty was to assist anyone coming in. Kevin would lock
the "In" gate and if I could hurry the old biddy along , we might make
the last half of happy hour at Smokey's.

I broke Post Attention. My hip made gritty noises when I took the first
step and the pain went up a notch. I must have made a real military sight;
middle-aged man with a small pot-gut and half a limp, in Marine Full Dress
Uniform, which had lost its razor crease about 30 minutes after I began the
watch at the cemetery.

I stopped in front of her, halfway up the walk. She looked up at me with an
old woman's squint.

"Ma'am, may I assist you in any way?"

She took long enough to answer. "Yes, son. Can you carry these flowers? I
seem to be moving a tad slow these days."

"My pleasure Ma'am." Well, it wasn't too much of a lie.

She looked again. "Marine, where were you stationed?"

"Vietnam, Ma'am. Ground-pounder. '69 to '71."

She looked at me closer. "Wounded in action, I see. Well done, Marine.
I'll be as quick as I can."

I lied a little bigger, "No hurry, Ma'am."

She smiled, and winked at me. "Son, I'm 85-years old and I can tell a lie
from a long way off. Let's get this done. Might be the last time I can do

My name's Joanne Wieserman, and I've a few Marines I'd like to see one
more time."

"Yes, Ma'am. At your service.".

She headed for the World War I section, stopping at a stone. She picked one
of the bunches out of my arm and laid it on top of the stone. She murmured
something I couldn't quite make out. The name on the marble was Donald S.
Davidson, USMC, France 1918.

She turned away and made a straight line for the World War II section,
stopping at one stone. I saw a tear slowly tracking its way down her cheek.

She put a bunch on a stone; the name was Stephen X. Davidson, USMC, 1943.

She went up the row a ways and laid another bunch on a stone, Stanley J.
Wieserman USMC , 1944.

She paused for a second, "Two more, son, and we'll be done."

I almost didn't say anything, but, "Yes, Ma'am. Take your time."

She looked confused.
"Where's the Vietnam section, son? I seem to have lost my way."

I pointed with my chin. "That way, Ma'am."

"Oh!" she chuckled quietly. "Son, me and old age ain't too friendly."

She headed down the walk I'd pointed at. She stopped at a couple of stones
before she found the ones she wanted. She placed a bunch on Larry Wieserman
USMC, 1968, and the last on Darrel Wieserman USMC, 1970.

She stood there and murmured a few words I still couldn't make out. "OK,
son, I'm finished. Get me back to my car and you can go home."

"Yes, Ma'am. If I may ask, were those your kinfolk ?"

She paused. "Yes, Donald Davidson was my father; Stephen was my uncle;
Stanley was my husband; Larry and Darrel were our sons. All killed in
action, all Marines."

She stopped, whether she had finished, or couldn't finish, I don't know.
She made her way to her car, slowly, and painfully.

I waited for a polite distance to come between us and then double-timed it
over to Kevin, waiting by the car.

"Get to the "Out"- gate quick. I have something I've got to do."

Kevin started to say something but saw the look I gave him. He broke the
rules to get us there down the service road. We beat her. She hadn't made
it around the rotunda yet.

"Kevin, stand to attention next to the gate post. Follow my lead." I
humped it across the drive to the other post.

When the Cadillac came puttering around from the hedges and began the short
straight traverse to the gate, I called in my best gunny's voice:

"TehenHut! ----------

Present Haaaarms!"

I have to hand it to Kevin, he never blinked an eye; full dress attention
and a salute that would make his DI proud. She drove through that gate with
two old worn-out soldiers giving her a send off she deserved, for service
rendered to her country, and for knowing Duty, Honor and Sacrifice.

I am not sure, but I think I saw a salute returned from that Cadillac.


Dammit Woman said...

Wollf - thank you for sharing this. Potent......lump in throat ..... eyes misty.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

And again with the tears.

This has got to be the most proud-tearful holiday on the books.

No wonder my family loves it-- it fits us to a T.

rthmcdragn said...

simply beautiful.....