May 26, 2003

I Remember Soldiers

Today is Memorial Day. A day set aside to honor those who lost their lives while serving in our country's military service. Reading the paper today, I came across several remembrances of ordinary folk. I would like to add mine with a sincere thank you, especially to all the men and women who put on uniforms during World War Two to do battle against Fascism. I will never forget!.

The year was 1945. The wars had just come to an end in Europe and Japan. My parents had decided to sell their home and businesses in Minnesota, and make the move to California. My Dad and brother, David, stayed behind to finish the school year, sell the house and take care of all the loose ends.

My Mom and I got on a train equipped with sleeper compartments and headed west. At four and a half, this was a great adventure!

The train was packed full. Not with families or tourists, but with men in every kind of uniform returning from their military enlistment. I remember so many tall, handsome and affable young men, laughing and joking, always willing to give a lone little girl a friendly smile and a kind word.

An artless child must have broken the boredom for those wonderful guys who were on their way home. I soon enjoyed the undivided attention of the genial returnees.

At every stop, at least one of the men jumped off of the train, soon returning with a small gift. A little toy, a piece of candy, a ribbon. All for me. In between stops, I was taught card games and songs and was entertained by these patient folk. They talked to me and listened. They must have been starved for the simple sound of a child's voice, one who was unaware of the horrors of war.

My Mom was content to read as I wandered, but from time to time walked down through the cars to see where I was. In later years she told the story with great glee. It was a more innocent time. She had no fears that any one would cause me harm. We all had great respect and gratitude for those who served in that war.

Still, whenever I see a man in uniform, part of my mind returns to those days on the train. To those young brave men, who were so happy to be coming home, and who took some of their time to entertain a small girl. Thank You!

Posted by Judi at May 26, 2003 11:01 AM | TrackBack
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