“Mom…? What’s going on? Yesterday you took a bunch of flags and went to the cemetery. And now you’re listening to that song again. Does that mean we’re going to the Memory All Day parade soon?”
That’s right, Chance. Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and we’re going to the parade. And then we’re going to the memorial service afterwards.
“OhBoyOhBoyOhBoy! I love the parade! There are lots of people, and all the little kids will pet me, and there are even doggies in the parade! And Bagpipers!! I LOVE Bagpipers! They’re from Scotland, like Collies! Can I follow them home this year, pleeeeaase???”
Silly boy! No, you can’t follow the bagpipers home. Besides, these bagpipers aren’t really from Scotland. They’re from New Jersey, like us.
“Well, they still sound like they’re from Scotland. It’s the Call of the Highlands, and all my collie ancestors tell me they’re part of my heritage.”
My, Chance, you are growing up! Such big words you’ve learned!
“I’m smart, right Mom? But one thing I don’t understand. The parade is so much fun, but you always cry at the Memory All service after it. If it makes you sad, why do we have to stay?”
Sweet, sweet Chance…I’m so glad you’ve never seen a war. There have been too many wars in our history, and so many men and women – and even dogs – went away to fight for our freedom. A lot of them never made it home, or if they did, they were never the same. Some were horribly injured; some of them lost arms or legs, and some of them were emotionally traumatized, even though they looked alright on the outside.
“Like Grandpa L?”
Yes, like Grandpa L. He was a prisoner of war, and he was tortured for a long time. You’d never know it to look at him, but he still has a lot of pain from what they did to him.
“Is that why you showed Aunt Karen that song on the computer, and told her to play it for him?”
That’s right. Grandpa L was a World War II veteran. He’s getting old now, like all the veterans from that war. They’re dying off pretty quickly, now, and we need to let them know, while we still can, that we appreciate their sacrifices so that we could be free. And the veterans of the other wars, too. Even if we didn’t agree the war was just, the men and women who served deserve our support.
“Oh, now I think I’m starting to understand something. At that part in the Memory All service, where they read all the names of the Legion members who didn’t answer when the roll was callled…I thought the reason you get upset and cry was because they weren’t as good as me – I always answer when you call! But you mean they didn’t answer because they couldn’t, because they had gone to the Rainbow Bridge?”
Yes, Chance, they’ve gone to the Rainbow Bridge. They’ve met their long-lost furkids, if they had any, and they’ve crossed the Bridge into Heaven. And even though there’s no more suffering in Heaven, we miss them because they’re not here anymore. And every year, there are more and more of them who have left us. I just hope they knew how much we appreciate the freedoms they left us.
“Gee, Mom, you’re right – we’d better tell them now, before it’s too late! Do you think our online friends will show that song to the veterans they know, to tell them Thank You?”
I hope so, Chance. It’s at http://www.managedmusic.com/php/BYGIndex.php?page=playBYG , and it’s very poignant. There’s also a new version this year, for Vietnam vets. They’re getting older, too. I wish every one of them could hear the song. It only came out a few years ago, so I never got a chance to play it for Grandma and Grandpa…I wish they could have heard it, and I hope they know how much I appreciate all they did for our country.
“Mom, don’t you know? They come back sometimes – remember when Grandpa came back and taught Rags how to shake hands? They’re still looking out for you…and they know, Mom. They know.”
Thanks, Chance. I wish people were as sensitive to these things as you dogs are. I miss them so much – I wish I could see them, just one more time, and tell them how much I love them and how much I admire them for risking their lives during the War. And THAT’s the real reason we go to the parade, and the memorial service: to thank all the veterans, and remember those who aren’t here anymore. Like they say, “All gave some, some gave all.”
“Mom, you’re starting to cry again. Can I climb up on your lap and give you some Collie Kisses? You always feel better when you’re hugging me…do you need a hug, now?”
I think that’s EXACTLY what I need. C’mon up, you overgrown lapdog, you. Oh, Chance, I love you so…