I listened to AM radio during the morning after my children went to school, a long ten years ago. I listened to get familiar with the area's going ons and to get used to names and locations that locals found easy to remember and know. I straightened up the kitchen after our morning's nutritional prep for the day. I would await news updates and weather reports before I would head to the nursing home to check on my dad. For two months, his broken hip and resolute spirit was repairing in a nearby nursing home and I visited at least two times daily to keep his mind engaged and entertained. That morning, I was particularly refreshed. The deep September sky and the hint of cooler days ahead, filled me with the energy it was going to take to care for my dad full time in as little as one week. I was positive and hopeful and as the autumn breezes swept through the house, I knew I could do it. I knew I could care for my dad despite all the internal warnings that were going off in my heart.
Who would have known that so many were going to pushed to their absolute limit, emotionally, physically, spiritually that very profound day?
Who knew so many cared for so many that they never met nor ever would had not this thing happened upon our soil?
The news was graphic, shocking, overwhelming. The news was unbelievable.
Should I contact my husband, who worked at a government armament facility? Swift emails were passed back and forth as long as they could before they were shut down for security reasons. Riveted to the two foot space in front of my television, the world became surreal and speaking out loud to myself seemed to reassure my panicked heart.
Selfish questions and concerns: My son was draft age. Surely a war would result from this horror. Would he be going? And who would we fight? Unknowns, unknowns; the worst fear.
Would my husband's arms producing facility be next?
My brother in law was a pilot for United Airlines. What was his shift? Where was he?
My children were in school in a small town hemmed around by the Hoosier National Forest. Surely, they were safe? Should I go get them?
Were any of us really safe?
Grabbing my keys, I went where I knew I needed to go.
I went to see my dad.
A veteran of World War II, a veteran whose silence about the horrors of war, spoke volumes about what I needed to know to handle this tragedy.
As I entered the nursing home, the obvious upheaval to the normal schedule was unsettling. The loudspeaker was turned up as reports of the horrid drama unfolded.
Veterans and wives of veterans pulled their wheelchairs into the hall to hear the details. Many, who had not understood every day life for some time, grasped that this was a memorable sadness and sought each other out for comfort and understanding.
I entered dad's room and found him riveted to the never on television in his room.
His voice stilled by age and illness, his eyes said it all.
His handkerchief dabbed at tears for our nations tragedy.
I held his thin hand as we watched the reports together. We stared silently and incredulously. I was wishing that my daddy would once again pull me on his lap and reassure me that everything was going to be all right, like he had so many times before.....
I looked into his sad eyes and asked him point blank, 'Dad, what do I do?' He knew. He had the right to tell me since he had paid a price that he still bore from the war that had imprinted on him sixty years before.
He said in his weak voice, 'Go home and put up our flags. Remember our nation and pray. Always.'
With that, I embraced him tightly, reassured him that it was going to be okay and that I would do what he told me.
I went home, placed our flag in it's holder and at his cottage and I remembered our nation and I prayed.
Ten years and nearly twenty flags later, I still remember his advice. The flag still flies on our front porch and I remember every time I notice it.
I look at the ten years and pray that in the experiencing of it, we all have grown and drawn closer to the only Hope that we have in the uncertain world.
Blessings on your soul as you reflect on this day......
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