Memorial Day is the day when we remember the men and women in uniform who have died while serving our country—the United States. Both my father and his brother, Nathan aka Nick, were in the Army during World War II. Uncle Nick was stationed in Africa and Italy (and possibly a few other places). He found himself in the kitchen when someone discovered he could cook. He was no longer on the front lines. An angel smiled down upon him and brought him safely home when the war was over. Unfortunately, many of his friends were not as fortunate as he.
My father was an actor. When he learned that Maurice Evans was coming to Honolulu to bring Shakespeare to the troops, he desperately wanted to be transferred to his unit—the one that would become the Entertainment Section—Special Services. When he first arrived, along with many other actors, musicians, artists, craftsmen, directors, etc., someone gave him the following advice: “Actors may come and go, but a good supply sergeant will stay.” Needless to say, that’s what my dad became—Rapp, the Supply Sarge! He saw many entertainers come and go. Again, several men from his unit were not as fortunate as he.
Mr. Lussenhop, my seventh grade history teacher, showed us slides of Korea from his time in the Army during the Korean War. Most of the girls thought he was quite handsome with his flashing white smile, crew cut and dazzling blue eyes. I found this picture I took of him with Mrs. Siegel from our 7th grade field trip to Hannibal Missouri.
I did not fully understand why we were fighting in Korea until nearly six years later, when the movie M.A.S.H. burst onto the scene. During the Vietnam war, I remember sending books and playing cards to soldiers, but I truly had no idea what was going on over there until a few people I knew were sent there to fight and wrote letters home.
When I look at my high school website, I see the names of men and women who have died defending our country printed in gold. I feel blessed to have known some of them and their siblings. I still find the reality of a life cut short devastating. I know there is a greater plan here, but no one bothered to tell me what it is.
To paraphrase my late astrology teacher, Jan McLevitch, “It is a privilege to be born on the planet earth. We pick the hour of our birth for the lessons, skills, talents and personality that will serve us in our lifetime. We choose our parents for the start in life we need—the education. We also choose our exit—how and when.” Jan felt that our natal charts show everything about us. Personally, that is more information than most of us can/want to handle.
To all of the soldiers who have given their lives, so we can sleep peacefully in our beds at night, I salute you. I am grateful for you having done your job well, so that our country can stay free. May the angels watch over you and your loved ones forever.