(This is a repost from 2012 with some editing)
Today is Memorial Day; a day when we here in the states honor and remember those men and women who have served in the various branches of the military and ultimately gave their all. As I have mentioned before, many of my relatives have served in various branches during different times in history. WWI, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, Korea, and during times of peace. While I knew what the day was about it wasn’t until my father became ill and had to spend the rest of his days in the St. James Veterans home that my eyes were truly opened to what our men and women have gone through serving their country and it was shown to me not by books or a class in school but by the actual people themselves, how much many have sacrificed – including the ultimate sacrifice.
So where does a movie fit in? DH called in his “it’s my turn” card and he picked the movie we went to see. His choice was Battleship. On a scale of 1 to 5 I would give the movie a 2.5 – 3. But in the middle there were some moments where I actually cried and it wasn’t because the acting was so fine (or bad) or anything of the sort. The movie used real active duty sailors as well as real vets; they were called Old Salts in the movie. Seeing them wearing their hats showing where and when they served opened up the flood gates of emotions I thought I had long since dealt with. Daddy has been gone now almost 7 years but seeing those frisky old guys wearing their hats brought it all to the front of my mind.
If you aren’t aware of where the movie takes place, it happens in Hawaii and a pivotal part of the movie involves the battleship USS Missouri. There were a couple of guys at the veterans home who served on that ship during Pearl Harbor and although they did not like to talk about it much at all, they would sometimes let little snippets out. One time one of the men let his memorabilia be used as a display in the halls of the home. History is never so real as when it is right there in front of you. But something was universally true, many of the vets in that home knew someone who did not come back like them and you could just see the dark cloud come over their faces IF you got them to talk about it. None of them ever really wanted to talk about it.
Never would I have thought that a movie based on a kids board game could reduce me to tears, but it did. It just shows that even after all this time I still miss my father very much and although I hated him being in that home, I do have fond memories of the place and the people there. If you celebrate today then I hope you have a good time whatever your plans. Enjoy and be careful out there but do remember what the real meaning of the day is and say a prayer for those serving as well as those who miss their brave loved ones.