Sunday, May 26, 2013

To Those Who Stand on the Wall

Today is a holiday to honor those men and women who died while in service to our country.  My family had several members in the armed forces but to my knowledge only one died in service - my Uncle Louie.  I think no one felt his lose greater than my father. They were of like personalities, close in age and part of a large blended family (Their widowed father married a widowed woman with children of her own.) Uncle Louie died before I was born in the Pacific Theater during World War II and is known to me only through family stories.  But I think he would have probably become a favorite uncle if we had met.  
When I first met my husband and we began sharing stories of our past, we discovered how different our childhoods had been.  I lived in the same house until I left for college.  My father was home every night.  I remember only one trip he took for business which kept him away for about three nights during that entire 18 years at home.  As a child my husband moved at least every three years as his father's duty station changed.  His father was often away for long periods of time, sometimes to parts unknown.  Communication during those times was infrequent or impossible.  They had a silent, secret fear on the "notification" team when Dad was away.  I understood for the first time the truth in the saying, "They also serve who sit and wait."  How true.

During this comparison of our childhoods my husband paused and then said, "You were able to have that secure, consistent childhood because others chose to stand on the wall and keep watch.  And that's what my father and I chose to do.  We kept watch to assure that the freedom to live in peace, the ability for fathers to come home every night, the right to live as a family in a house that you owned would be possible for families like yours.  We stood on the wall."  Instantly we were connected in a new way.  All those years that I lived in the same house on the same street; all those nights that my father came home to dinner, watched TV with us and bought ice cream in the evenings - all that was possible because a man I didn't know was risking his life to keep us safe - a man I would only meet years later.  And he was not alone in his sacrifice.  There were many others also keeping watch.

And so with deep gratitude to all of those who have stood on the wall and to their families who supported them, worried about them and waited for them and with special remembrance to those who gave their lives for the protection of my life and my way of life:  Thank you. 


  1. This was such a touching post, Nina. Please thank your husband and father-in-law for their service. I appreciate it.

  2. My beloved "bampa" (great grandfather) stood on the wall in WWI. He would never talk about it. He is often in my thoughts and always in my heart. I hold the minute of silent vigil in memory and thanks for his service every November 11th (Remembrance Day in Canada).