My grandmother Catherine gave birth to five sons. Her first died in infancy. The rest grew up strong, healthy and each married and raised up children of their own. Before that could happen Catherine and her husband Alexander had to send all four of their surviving sons off to fight in World War II. Somehow, they all came home. They were changed, but they were still hale, hearty and whole.
Chuck’s grandmother Minnie gave birth to seven children, four of them sons. Minnie and her husband Louis had to send their three eldest sons off to fight in World War II. Only two sons came home - changed, but still hale, hearty and whole. Carl, their firstborn, was declared Missing In Action in Italy. It would take six more years and the efforts of his sister Shirley, before Carl’s remains would be identified. He was finally laid to rest back home in Massachusetts. Minnie became a Gold Star Mother, part of a club no woman wants to join.
Today, on Memorial Day, we remember them all. Today we express our gratitude to them all. But most especially to Uncle Carl who never got to put his degree from Harvard to civilian use, who never had the opportunity to marry and perhaps raise a family. Carl, who missed out on ordinary moments, sorrowful and celebratory occasions and all the little joys of everyday life.