Sitting in a Cemetery

The oldest graveyard in Athens, Alabama, is a block from the courthouse and is known as Old City Cemetery.  Most of the graves are unreadable and many have been damaged over the years.

However, the grave of John Craig received a new marker recently.  He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, so his grave has been maintained over the years.

I was sitting in the cemetery looking at his grave and wondering about his life.  His world was filled with uncertainty.  The American Colonies were going to war with England (a world super-power at the time).

If the war was lost, he could be executed for treasonous acts.  If the war was won, his world would still be filled with upheaval and unknown circumstances.  He would be living in a brand new country that was trying to establish a government.

I wonder what he must have thought about his future possibilities.  Did he think about future generations and how much his actions would effect them?  Was he afraid of the unknown future?  Was he filled with feelings of invincibility and the optimism of youth?

John Craig was fighting for a country that was only a dream at the time.  He was willing to die, for the idea of a free and independent nation.

His willingness to fight and give his life, if necessary, is still honored today.

National Military Brats Day

Today is National Military Brats Day.  Being a military brat made my childhood unique in many ways.

  1. Where am I from?  That is a hard question to answer.  I was born in Fort Bliss (El Paso) Texas, but we left when I was only a year old.  I can’t say I am from there.  I spent the majority of my childhood in Germany, but I am not a German and I can’t say I am from there.  Maybe, I am from nowhere or maybe I am from everywhere.
  2. I didn’t get to know my extended family as a child.  Since I grew up overseas, I rarely got a chance to visit them.
  3. I learned all the words to the National Anthem while I was still in elementary school.
  4. As a child, I could see tanks outside my bedroom window.
  5. At school we celebrated Military Appreciation Day.  They would fill the parking lot with military weapons, tanks, trucks, and helicopters.  The kids were allowed to climb on everything.  It was a ton of fun.
  6. We got to do fun things other kids would never get a chance to do, such as operating flight simulators and tank simulators.
  7. We also got to sample MREs.  That wasn’t so much fun.
  8. Occasionally, we ate holiday meals at the Mess Hall.
  9. Taking a bus to Paris for the weekend was a thing, so was skiing in the Alps on a field trip.
  10. I learned to be adaptable at an early age.
  11. I also learned how to properly fold a flag.

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Happy Military Brats Day

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

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Erich Maria Remarque did an excellent job of capturing the horrors of war in, All Quiet on the Western Front.  The language used by the author is descriptive and graphic.

The author also portrayed how Post Traumatic Stress (known as shell shock at the time) effected the main character.  While on leave, he was unable to connect with his family, exhibited signs of depersonalization, was depressed, and dealt with feelings of rage.

Reading the book was an eye-opening experience and I would recommend it.

 

Old Stuff Day

This is Old Stuff Day.  When I think about old stuff in my house, the first thing that comes to mind is this washboard.

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My grandmother, Edith (Stevens) Lynn, purchased the washboard in 1957, from Carabaos Store in Anchorage, Alaska.  My grandfather was in the Army and he was stationed there at the time.

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It’s amazing to think about how different their lives were from mine.  I can’t even fathom how long it would take to do laundry for an entire family with a washboard or how much elbow grease was involved in that task.

Life for them was hard.  They moved constantly with the Army and sometimes spent less than one year at a location before moving again.  They raised four kids and would sacrifice to provide the best possible life for their children.

My mom remembers in the early years, when my grandfather was just a private, my grandmother would skip meals.  She sat at the table and said she wasn’t hungry.  However, the truth was she didn’t have enough food to feed everyone.  She decided her husband needed a good meal, since he was a soldier, and the children needed food to grow, be healthy, and do well in school.

The washboard now hangs in our laundry room, but it’s more than a decorative piece.  It is a reminder of my family legacy.

The sacrifice and hard work of my grandparents, gave my mom the chance at a good education and an example of how to survive in the world.

Mom passed that legacy down to her children.  Today my life successes are a reflection of that tradition and I try to teach Gwen the same values I learned from Mom.

It began over 60 years ago, a tradition of hard work, dedication, and love for your family.  It still continues to this day, thanks to my grandparents, Frank and Edith Lynn.