I walked to the Vietnam Wall today -this sounds impressive, until you realize it's less than two miles from my home. I passed many veterans along the way, most about my father's age, and a good deal that were alone. That surprised me.
I tripped, at one point. My foot caught into a hole, and I went down hard on my hand, but didn't completely lose my balance. I thought, wildly, of last November when I was still in a cast. I was swarmed over by many concerned people, but I was luckily fine, and managed to walk another mile and a half home.
I was walking along, and recalled my own words, written in 2010, that are somehow even more appropriate now, today, in 2012 - as my life continues to change and rearrange, and I am working on leaving old scars and hurts behind.
November 11, 2010
I am thinking of Madeline
Alice Spohr, who would have been three today.
I am thinking of Henry Louis Granju, a boy whose life
touched mine after he left his own.
I am thinking of all the children
whose lives never got to be completed, and all the children whose lives are in
progress in my life, and how I am learning to parent without ever parenting at
I am thinking
of my two best friends, one of whom I will spend my Thanksgiving with. Whose
hand I will hold before prayer, just as I have for over fifteen years.
And the sweet faces I
will hug to me this weekend.
I am thinking of
my grandfather, who served in WWII, along with his six brothers. Seven brothers
went to war. Seven brothers came home. He wanted me to write a book about him
and his brothers--maybe someday, I will. I wish I could have just one more
conversation with him.
So -here's to the veterans of war, the veterans
of boot camp, the veterans of immeasurable loss. And here's to the veterans who
survived the wars of their own homes, the nightmares of broken dreams and broken
families, and to those who came out the other side with a slight limp
from suffered hurt. To those who suffered the wars in their own minds from
mental illness, and those who suffered the wars of addiction. I salute you.
We are all
survivors of something--veterans of the wars we fight on land, air, sea and
Here's to them. Here's to us. Let's whisper thank-you to the
wind, and hope it reaches someone's ear.