©2014 Mollie Pearce McKibbon
Last week my Grampa put out all his medals on the dining room table. Then he got out the polish and a big cloth. He spent a long time putting the white stuff on the medals and then he wiped it with the cloth. He cleaned them a long time and when he was done he asked me to look at them very carefully to see if he missed anything. He says that my eyes are much sharper than his are, but I didn’t see any speck of dirt on them.
After he cleaned all the medals he told me what they all were for and why he got them in the war. Whenever Grampa puts on his medals he puts on his uniform. Mommy takes it to the cleaners for him, especially for ‘Membrance Day. When he puts it on he says that he thinks the cleaner people must have shrunk it, but Mommy just smiles and then she takes off the shiny buttons and sews them back in a different place.
I like it when Grampa gets dressed in his uniform. He tells me to stand at attention and then he salutes. He shows me how to march right, left, right, left. He has to practice so that he can march in a parade.
I like parades. I like the big drums and the bag pipes, though they always make me cover my ears. Mom and I dress in our warmest clothes and we stand on the sidewalk near Mr. Jensen’s bakery to watch the parade going by. I stand in front so that I can see Grampa. He looks straight ahead as he marches by but I know he sees us.
After the parade, we go to the big statue in front of the Town Hall and we stand near Grampa. A soldier plays a bugle and everyone bows their heads. Grampa’s eyes always bother him and he has to wipe them with his handkerchief. He says that the wind blows dirt into them and I guess the wind bothers a lot of those other men too.
This year my Grampa helped the Silver Cross Mother take a wreath up to the statue. I asked Mommy why the mother had a silver cross and she said that the government had given it to her because she had lost her son in a war. She told me that Daddy’s mother has a silver cross too. I don’t know why she has one though, because my Daddy isn’t lost. We know ‘xactly where he is. We go to visit a big park with lots of stones called a cem’tary and his name is on one of the stones. We take flowers there every Sunday and my mommy is sad.
I was much littler when my Daddy went to ‘Ghanistan’ so sometimes I forget his voice, but Mommy lets me listen to a CD he made for us when he was there and I ‘member. I guess that’s what ‘Membrance Day is for. I guess Grampa is ‘membering. Maybe it makes his throat hurt too.