Monuments, memorials, memories. Those words are often synonymous.
I have seen a fair share of memorials and monuments in my 26 short years of life. They have ranged from the Washington Monument in D.C. to the Pearl Harbor Monument in Hawaii to the Veterans Memorial in Winnebago.
Even though I have never been in the military, I do have memories of some who have. As a writer, I have heard about the Korean War and World War II from soldiers who were there.
As a granddaughter, I have learned about the Korean War and about my grandpa who was there.
So, seeing these monuments and memorials always brings family to mind. And, I truly think that's the point.
Remembering what those in the military have done. Remembering that grandpa always hated the cold. Remembering that my uncle was in a foreign land that I didn't know anything about.
One of the closest moments I ever had with my grandpa was when I was in the seventh grade and had to write a paper on the Korean War. We needed to include sources, so I asked my grandpa if I could interview him about his experiences.
Now that I think back, that was probably my first interview I had ever done. Maybe that's what really started me down this path.
At that time, I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know what questions to ask. I didn't even know that he may not want to talk about his experiences.
But, I was his granddaughter, so he answered me as best he could.
I learned that he was a radio operator, and that it was so cold where he was stationed that he got frostbite. (You see, that's why he always hated the cold.)
I learned that he ate C-rations, which at the time I thought was only sea food because I didn't realize from him speaking that he meant the letter C.
I learned that war is difficult to talk about, but that each soldier has a story to tell.
Since that time in seventh grade, all those years ago, I have interviewed several others who have served during wartime.
One common factor, aside from being in a war, is modesty. Not a single one of them ever bragged about how many enemy soldiers he shot or boasted about our victory. They each said they did their part, whatever they could do. No more, no less.
Not every fallen or veteran soldier has a memorial, but each memorial that is out there, helps you remember all of the soldiers, past and present.
If you go to see a memorial, don't just read the names, remember the ones that may be forgotten.
I remember you, Grandpa Lemar. I miss and love you.