Every now and then when I go back to the DC Metro area… I just have to make the roots trip. I’ve inflicted this on my son Zach, a number of times and he bears it with quiet dignity. This time I was in the area with my buddy Jerry B. and after checking out his stamping grounds in Southern Maryland, we drove up Northampton St. in Chevy Chase D.C. and I showed him the house we owned from 1948 to the early 70’s. I lived there, went to Lafayette elementary school across the street, Alice Deal Junior High and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School… in and around Dad’s postings.
I had three days to visit the Wall… and in an odd way, it was a homecoming in time.
You should read ‘A Piece Of My Heart,’ stories of 26 nurses who served in Vietnam. Also read, Lynda Van Devanter’s ‘Home Before Morning.’
The story of combat is not mine… the story of trying to live in humanity as an American is. Yet all these things, struggles, sacrifice, smiles and tears shape our collective worlds.
Our lives go on… the Fallen exist in a moment frozen in time.
Indeed, life goes on as memories are the cement that join the bricks in our house of dreams.
I saw a motorcycle with Ohio plates and this picture was on the seat… As long as there is life, there is memory.
They gaze from the tree line to the Wall… perhaps to see if their names are there…
My Uncle Tarmo… North Aftrica… Sicily… Italy… His flag rests in it’s mahogany case in our living room. Couldn’t find a picture of Uncle Pentti in time for this blog. He fought his way up through the Pacific with a flame thrower on his back… winding up in the Philippines.
Born in 1910, they considered Dad a little old for the service. He busted his ass to pass the physical… with Mom’s help he made it. He went to Japan after VJ Day with MacArthur’s staff as a translator. They cracked safes in the ashes of a firebombed Tokyo and perused documents.
Three generations of Kaukonen blood… and a good friend. This is something to remember too…
And for the Fallen… you are not forgotten. We honor your service!