Today we're grilling, playing Bocce in the backyard, and I'm thinking about the struggles we've been through that allow us to take time to enjoy our own homestead and relax with our families, feeling safe, full and secure.
Partly, I'm thinking of my grandfather, C. B. Jones, who was a fighter pilot in WWII, was awarded multiple medals for his service in the Pacific theatre, and served as commander of various fighter fleets during the war. He was a graduate of the USNA, class of 1926, and spent his career and his life in the Navy. He died when I was only ten, but I vaguely recall being bored by his tales of air combat missions, war politics and homestead frivolity.
Oddly enough, I'm also thinking of an ancestor of my husband's, Peter Toglio, who served with both the Confederate and Union sides during the Civil War. He served in the South in South Carolina, deserted, and went North. When he found there was no work, he took on an assumed name, and signed up with a NY unit.
For the latter, service was something he found himself in. For the former, service was something he sought. What's the difference between the two? Raising a son of my own now, I see the photos of the passing soldiers on the nightly news, and I wonder how their families get on, without them. They're all younger than I am, now, those men and women fighting so far away. I don't think I have the courage that they or their families do.