Monday, May 30, 2016
I am of course past the deadline for Memorial Day Memorials, but this is honestly the first time I ever considered the meaning beyond BBQs and beer -- and maybe traffic. And being a peacenik hippie may have been a part of it as well, of course.
No one in my immediate family or among our friends was killed in any war or conflict, or whatever we are calling them now.
I live across the street from a wonderful place called "Constitution Park". I have shared many photos of it in the past, mostly because it was once the home of multiple movie studios in the silent film era. It also has multiple memorials to those who had served to protect our citizens, including firemen and policemen as well as the military. It has a prominent sculpture made from a large steel beam of the World Trade Center.
But this year before the BBQ and beer, I made sure to walk across the street and visit the monument to those who lost their lives in World War II, and place a single flower on it. My wife later said it is supposed to be a poppy, but all I had was a tulip. Here's why:
In March my father Ralph Gionet died at 89 after living a full and happy life. He was young when the U.S. joined the war, but knew he was needed and expected to serve. As it turned out he had a minor medical condition that prevented him from being recruited. So instead, he went to work as a welder in several shipyards in the Boston area throughout the war. Cannot have a Navy without ships, right?
Last year he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is caused only be regular, ongoing, daily exposure to asbestos.
This would likely make him one of the oldest American men to die from an injury sustained during WWII.
I placed this flower and took this picture to honor him and all of those other people who have given their lives, not in the trenches, but in the factories, kitchens, hospitals, communications centers, and every other place providing support for the people at the front. There are maybe way more than we could even know, given the chaos of war and passing of time.
Please remember their sacrifices as you go back to your regular busy lives.