This year it falls early, not at the end of the month because the last Monday in the month is today, the 25th of May. It was very auspicious that it did, for my husbands Birthday was this weekend, the same weekend of a big festival in our town that also has been graced since Thursday, with the replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC.
My Husband is a Vietnam Veteran, he served there 68-69. He was not welcomed home after suffering through rocket attacks almost every night, jungle rot, spiders sleeping on him the size of dinner plates, and that is just the small stuff!, except by family and friends. For his time there he was ridiculed, spit upon and basically persona non grata for many a year. This has had a lasting effect on him and it only began to be healed when seeing the wall for the first time.
His first time was in 1990 when we were vacationing in Cape Cod. We happened upon it in downtown Hyannis, home of the Kennedy clan. And he was moved very much that I had found this and brought him to it. This was the first time he met anyone that shook his hand and welcomed him back home ( besides family).
Then in 1994 we visited Washington DC, the first he had been there since being shipped out and the first I'd been since a 6th grade safety trip ( all students in the 6th grade who had an A average were on the safely patrol and our reward for our work as safeties was this trip to DC in the spring of 68. In fact we weren't allowed to see all the sites because ( I later found out) there were riots going on there and most likely my future husband was there serving duty from Fort Belvoir on riot patrol.
That was the first time he got to see the real thing, and It was a very moving experience for him. Later that decade he got to make the trip with his firstborn, whom he had been estranged from for many a year due to divorce. He got to pass on a bit of what it was like for him at his then sons age of 21.
In the year 2000 the Moving Wall came closer to home, in the next county and because I worked for the newspaper there I found out about it and took him again , 10 years later. It was just as moving then.
Now almost 10 year after that we found out it was here in our new home town for the Memorial weekend. He has already visited twice and will go today for the parade, and closing ceremonies.
He has always been very patriotic, despite the way he was treated after returning home and flew the flag, and proudly worn a Vets shirt proclaiming, " Just Try and Burn this one! ". This weekend he was able to fit into his fatigue uniform shirt he wore overseas over 40 years ago, something he hasn't been able to do in years as he had been so skinny over there, but it fit now and he wore it proudly. I wish I had been able to go with him, but I've been not feeling too well this past week.
As a patriotic man his favorite bird has always been the American Bald Eagle. Through the years I have bought him many different things with the Eagle on it, but this year I wanted to make something for him and this is what I did. He has that fierce look that only an Eagle can have but I have softened it a bit with the watercolor technique and he looks quite good if I say so myself. Hubby loves it so that's all that matters.
I hope you have a joyous time with your family today, but please remember why you have this day off from work, and say a little prayer of thanks that you do and have the freedom you have because of these men and woman who have risked or totally given up their lives so you and your children could Enjoy that freedom.
May God Continue to Bless America !