Page 1, When I entered Concrete Angels contest the topic brought so many feelings to me. I share a moment with you....
“Take heed,” he said to me, “you walk on consecrated ground.”
Caring not I traveled on. I stroll across the field of grass and moss where angels, cherubs, and figures cast of stone whisper secrets of the dead. Here where crosses and tombs caressed by clinging ivy decorate the landscape lie the remains of those who feel no joy, pain, love, or sorrow. I am aware of those brightly adorned doorsteps that none dare cross save the one’s whose time has passed. This is their meeting place, the place of spirits, those who celebrate or mourn the passing of their lives. I stop for a moment to smell the peonies and roses which were left by loved ones of the departed. My heels sink into the soft ground and it feels as if the dead seek a new companion. It is here before his marker I place the lily freshly cut from my garden. It is here I shed my tears of pain and remorse. As I walk away I read the messages engraved on other markers and wonder at what type of person they might have been.
“No answers here,” I whisper to the captive audience I have found.
He was born one of thirteen children. His place in line was number six. George’s mother and father were not wealthy nor were they dirt poor. He grew up on a small farm in Western Kentucky and helped tend the chickens, cows, and pigs that they raised for extra money. He was stabbed in the back at the age of fifteen and the doctors told him he would never walk again. He didn’t believe them and he did walk six months later. At seventeen he tried to enlist but they told him he was too young. He didn’t listen and lied about his age. The army took him and shipped him to Europe to fight in World War II.
He became a career soldier and married the woman he fell in love with. His second tour of duty was in Korea, through the Korean War. He and his wife were blessed with six children over the years. Still wanting to serve his country he volunteered and went to Vietnam, but they sent him home on the verge of death. They told him he wouldn’t be around long, but they were wrong.
I stand here remembering all the battles he fought, everything he taught me about life, and those things he showed me through his love. My family is here and so are his friends to celebrate the passing of the man who didn’t know the meaning of the word, no.
It is all I can do to stand. There are not enough tissues in the box to catch every tear I cry or will cry over my lifetime. The words the Army chaplain speaks are not helping the searing pain in my heart or that infernal pressure in my brain. Six soldiers are there to send him off the way he deserves to go. My mother looking like death itself takes the flag that adorned his coffin and I turn away. They are not just burying a soldier, he was my father before all else.
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