today is veterans day–a day to remember those who defend our freedom, our honor, our rights, our country. i’m not one to argue against days of remembrance, so today, i remember you.
i don’t remember what unit you were in (are they called units in the USMC?) or where you were stationed during WWII and the korean war. i know you were a fighter pilot (i hope dad will let me have your bad ass jacket one day), and i know you were a drill sergeant (were you anything like r. lee ermey?). but i have no idea what you saw, what it was like being away from your wife and sons for so long, or what it meant to you to serve in the USMC for so many years. you died when i was 10 and grandma followed you into the dark 4 years later, so i was never blessed with your stories, nor do i know if the memories were too traumatic to share.
what i do remember is how you impacted my life.
i remember coloring pictures for you and grandma until my hands cramped from that GIANT coloring book using my prized, yellow 64-piece box of crayola crayons (i was OBSESSED with the built-in sharpener. remember?) and the pride i got from seeing my finished work on display. i remember leaping into your arms without any reservation the moment i saw you. i remember admiring your patience as you stared at the train section of the toy aisle in toys-r-us, while grandma waited for me to pick out a toy (cabbage patch, please). i remember how, despite the pain of your aging body, you laid on the floor with me for hours, playing with the fisher price little people, my little ponies and barbie. i remember feeling like such a grown-up when you lent me recorded audio tapes of rodgers & hammerstein, war of the worlds and others i can’t recall.
but mostly i’ll never forget how you smiled around me–like you were finally at peace with life and in that moment everything made sense. i only hope i make you proud and that i can instill in my life half the love and patience you gave me.
thank you, grandpa, for spoiling me with extra glasses of chocolate milk, another scoop of ice cream and for never being afraid to love. and thank you, robert louis murphy, for serving our country.
i miss you every day.
love, little bit