I sat on a bench behind Veterans Corridor, residence of the VFW and American Legion in Craig. Heat air stirred beneath an easygoing sky because the solar bathed bushes nonetheless inexperienced and accented the orange leaves flaunted by a couple of. The October day appeared to nonetheless as I studied the memorial that honors the Moffat County veterans of World Warfare II for his or her service and sacrifice.
Thirty names are listed on a marble base topped by a statue, 30 males from Moffat County who died whereas serving their nation. As I learn their names, I pictured them looking within the mountains that encompass the Yampa Valley, fishing within the river that wanders the sting of city, ranching a distant space reached by a graveled highway. I noticed them sitting within the lecture rooms of Moffat County Excessive Faculty, driving Craig’s streets, getting into its shops, picnicking in its parks with their households: dwelling, loving, laughing.
As fall builds to a crescendo earlier than submitting to the ascendance of winter, Veterans Day offers us a chance to honor these native males who gave their lives and to recollect all of the women and men from throughout the nation who’ve served within the navy branches of america of America.
Most of us have been touched by battle and might level to ancestors who served: those that got here residence complete, those that got here residence mentally or bodily altered, those that didn’t come residence. My nice uncles served in World Warfare I and my uncles in World Warfare II. All returned to their households, however I bear in mind holding my mom’s hand and staring with a baby’s curiosity at my older cousin Milton, at his wheelchair, his violently scarred face, the stumps the place his legs ought to have been.
Later, once I mentioned the person within the wheelchair scared me, my father mentioned Milton was a good-looking, joyful younger man till, combating within the battle in Korea, he drove his jeep over a land mine. “I believe he would love it for those who talked to him subsequent time, Janet.”
I additionally bear in mind listening to the sound of my mom crying after my oldest brother got here residence from faculty to inform her he had enlisted within the Marines and would in all probability be despatched to the identical battle that injured our cousin. Whereas serving in Japan and Korea, he wrote entertaining letters to his siblings, asking us questions and teasing us. When he returned to us, we celebrated.
Fifteen years later, I once more lived from letter to letter — incapable of watching the nightly information and my abdomen knotted with anxiousness — whereas my younger husband served 18 months in Vietnam. However I’ve by no means needed to mourn a cherished one taken by a battle.
I do know a lot of right this moment’s veterans return disabled or troubled whereas others seem to go on with their lives unchanged — although we will by no means make sure. I additionally know all those that have served should obtain the remedy and assist they want and to be held shut in our hearts on Nov. 11.
Once I see veterans from any battle marching in a parade, strolling by means of an airport, being interviewed on TV or featured in a newspaper, I really feel saddened by what they needed to endure and grateful for his or her service, which permits my family members to dwell the lives we do; so I whisper, “Thanks, thanks a lot.”
Earlier than leaving the memorial in Craig, I studied the bronze statue that tops it. The life-size piece of artwork depicts a younger man on full alert wearing fight uniform from his metal helmet to his double-belted boots. He strides ahead carrying the implements of battle and survival: rifle, ammunition, grenades, fight knife, pack, entrenchment instrument, canteen.
He stands on the sting of Veterans Park with its woodcarvings, acres of grass, enveloping bushes and swimming swimming pools now closed for the season. I consider that throughout the months of summer time, the joyful noises of kids at play attain him. And I’m glad.
Janet Sheridan’s e-book, “A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Cities,” is obtainable on Amazon. She writes from Craig, and blogs at auntbeulah.com.
To ship a letter to the editor about this text, submit on-line or take a look at our pointers for the best way to submit by electronic mail or mail.