Sunday, June 6, 2010
Today, is June 6th. It has a myriad of meanings to me. Growing up, my uncle, Andrew, passed away from a brain tumor. Basically, they opened his head and closed it right up saying it was too far gone. He died when I was two.
Andy was the oldest of 8 children; six that lived past birth. My father was the 7th of the 8 children. With 17 years between them in age, they still had a very close and loving relationship. One of my favorite stories was of my father's two older brothers returning home from World War II. Uncle John, was a Navy Baker 2nd Class. He was a boisterous and genial personality, and when Johnny came marching home...the town knew it:-)
Uncle Andy was a quieter soul. Still waters, as we know, run deep. His, it seems at times, were nearly unfathomable. Their dogs, according to my dad, were always strays that came up the driveway and stayed. My grandfather, Andrew Sr., always named them Jack or Jackie:-) This particular Jackie, was Andy's dog. Many stories exist about the intelligence of the stray, and the feats he did on looks, or subtle commands Uncle Andy would give him. When Andy left for war, and became a track driver, Jack aged, and eventually became listless, according to my father.
When the war ended, not everyone knew when they would end up back home, or how they would arrive. Uncle Andy did not wire ahead. He simply walked from town. According to George, Jackie perked up, ran in circles, and dashed down the farm's 1/4 mile driveway. Andy was home! Jackie died a week later.
Andy landed on Normandy Beach, and dove beneath the waves to avoid being shot. His fellow track driver that he tried to bring to shore, ended up missing his head. Andy made it safely ashore, and through the hail of bullets, only to end up wounded somewhere in Italy bleeding out his ears and everywhere else. The doctors believed his injury had something to do with the brain tumor that took him in 1970. We will never know.
The landing on Normandy Beach happened on June 6th, which is my grandfather Andrew Sr.'s birthday. Today, June 6, 2010 took on a different meaning. My daughter's high school senior class baccalaureate took place. It was a joyful and nice ceremony. Giving thanks and praying for the blessings of the outgoing class of 2010. We are currently in a state of war overseas yet again. It certainly made me think about the young men and women who may be facing similar circumstances post graduation. Especially if they are already in the ROTC. It is bittersweet to watch the young so fresh and ready to face the world, and realize that they are facing the possibility of being in battle so soon after beginning their new life. D-Day....a day of facing life. Then, and now. Thank you Uncle Andy and Uncle John for serving, and may God bless the senior class of 2010.