One of my prized possessions was given to me several years ago by my mother. Believe it or not, it is a Colt 45. It was my grandfather's service revolver that he carried during World War II. He was in the army and faithfully served his country for many years, leaving behind a young wife and their daughter (my mother) while he served. My mother can recall how hard it was for him to be gone, but he was one of the lucky ones and eventually returned home to his family. And though it was scary and extremely difficult and anger or bitterness could reside, the patriotism runs deep in my family.

My mom's baby brother (my uncle), was born ten years after she - the war filling those ten years that kept my grandparents separated. That Uncle later grew up to become a Green Beret - a member of the elite US Army Special Forces. His life in the military was not only a source of extreme mystery, but also great pride. Though complaints abound regarding government and at different times and with different administrations, negativity runs thick, the fact of the matter is we are allowed the freedom to complain, as well as the opportunity to try and change things. This is why my grandfather was away from his family and why my uncle would sometimes disappear in the middle of the night, not able to tell where he was going or when he would be returning.

We live in a time that, because of incredible technology and open communication, much good can occur. But so can much bad. It is not so different from what it was sixty-four years ago when my grandfather came home from the war. It is not so different from what it was September 11, 2001.
It is not so different.

My prized possession is not "that" because it is a weapon. It is that because it brought my grandfather home. It kept him safe. My mother needed a father, my grandmother needed a husband. The multitude of fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters that are away from their families and homes right now because unrest resides somewhere in the world is really unthinkable and yet, it is real and it is true.

Memorial Day is celebrated today in the US to remember those who lost their lives or whose lives were destroyed by serving their country during a time of war. Sadly, those numbers are too high. My grandfather did not come home the same man. But he did come home.

 Thanks to those who didn't.

© by rayannethorn

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