Friday, November 14, 2008

This story may not end here, but it's starting here on this page today. I may move it to another blog, yet to be established, or not.

I've marveled in later years at the gaps in my memory, especially when the events forgotten or unable to be recalled were so incredibly important, or so I thought I thought, when they occurred.

This past week on the 11th of November we here in the USA celebrated a holiday titled Veteran's Day. Most people will remember that cause it was just 3 days ago. I need to mention here that The NYT seemed to have forgotten, since they ignored it. That's all, no rant or pissed off diatribe...just an observation.
Veteran's Day in the fall and Memorial Day in the spring have a deep and special significance for me and I suspect for many others also. It's a personal thing, because I'm a veteran. A number of events happened on or around this Veteran's Day that caused me to reflect on what it means in general to be a veteran, and most particularly, what it means to me.
Every year since 1966 I receive a phone call on the 1oth of November from Pappy Calta, my hooch-mate from the time I spent as a Navy hospital corpsman with Echo company 2nd battalion, 7th marines in 1965 while stationed in Chulai, Republic of South Vietnam. For those of you who don't know, Nov. 10th is the Marine Corps birthday. The call only lasts a few minutes, just long enough for a happy birthday, how are ya, what's new in your life, and mostly to let you know I'm still thinking of you. My wife reminded me on the 11th that I hadn't heard from my old chum from days gone by. It was a ruse of sorts on her part, because Pappy had, infact, called on the 10th but I was on-call and working. As I was readying for bed she said "don't you think you should call your friend from Vietnam?"
"I don't have his number."
"I do"
" He called last night while you were at work and said he'd call back tonight and not to tell you so it would be a surprise."
I called him and surely did surprise him, as it took him a minute or so and a few hints before he recognized me.

Our daughter, who is a deputy director for the VA in New York State, was among the folks on the deck of the aircraft carrier, USS Intrepid Nov. 11th for the rededication of this ship docked on the Hudson River in the city of New York. She witnessed President George W. Bush receive his award and received a phone call while there in the audience.
"Hello, this is Michelle."
"Michelle, this is the Whitehouse. We want to thank you for being an escort for a gold star parent."

Our daughter, the Navy ship, Pappy's call, and Veteran's day: on reflection I thought; does anybody, who isn't one, know what it's like to be a veteran? I asked my self; what does it mean to me to be a veteran? And I began to think back and I was surprised at how much I'd forgotten and how much events had blended together and I thought; you'd better get this down in print somewhere before you forget altogether.

Your invited to come along, or not, as you please. Regardless, the remembering starts here and now:

How I became a veteran; rel



Blogger KoffeeBean said...

I am so proud of you! :)

7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a great idea! It will be something your grandkids and their grandkids should know! I wish we had more stories of Grampa LaRock's life experiences... JL

8:55 AM  
Blogger willow said...

Wonderful post. Lots of pride and appreciation to you and yours.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Churlita said...

That's so cool. I hope we get to read all about it.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Jellyhead said...

I can't wait to hear your story.

10:41 PM  
Blogger paisley said...

no rel,, we don't know.. how could we possibly?? you must tell us really,, so we can know the words if not feel the feelings.. i believe it is a journey we deserve and you are destined to share..... can't wait to hear more......

8:08 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

It's a GREAT idea! Thank you Rel!

3:05 PM  
Blogger Wanderlust Scarlett said...

That's really incredible.

Thank you, Rel, for your service, and for sharing this.

That Vietnam Memorial was created by Frederick Hart. He's one of my all time favorite artists, and this piece is one of the reasons why.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

3:39 PM  

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