Day 3: A photo from your day today
Wow. Imagine a post and challenge that coincide with a day that something amazing happened.
Today was my dad's memorial service, put on by the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home. I went with my mom, Big and Mimi.
We left home shortly after noon and took a nice drive (despite the high wind advisory) to get there on time. A Vietnam Navy Veteran who does volunteer work at the nursing home presented my dad's life. His name was Gary Baldwin and he did an amazing job of discovering his history and presenting his life, his military time and focusing on some amazing details. I was amazed at the time and effort that went into his presentation, in research of Japanese American Army Units and history alone.
See the hat? That's dad's original Army issue service hat. The social worker at the nursing home found it through a series of military chat rooms. A military collector living in England bought it at a thrift shop in Ireland. He had recently posted my dad's name in a military chat room with, "does anyone know anything about this guy? I just bought his hat. The original name is inside." The social worker jumped right on it and started negotiating a price for the hat. He ended up getting it, and it was presented to me (formally) today (see below) . . .
Along with his original service cap, a group of Veteran volunteers at the nursing home presented me with this:
That's a bronze star . . . the military's fourth-highest award for bravery, heroism or meritorious service. The list of the medals that are coming is amazing. I had NO idea. My newest goal is to educate myself on what they all mean and how he earned them all. There is, of course, more of a story to the bronze star but I need a wee-bit of time to process all of it.
Suffice it to say that today was an amazing day. It was a "memorial" day, but it was filled with lots of hugs, tons of love and such good stories and recollections about my dad. It's so very clear from talking to the ladies and gentlemen at the nursing home that he was loved by so, so many people. There is certainly a Roy-sized hole in eveyones' heart, but his memories and the legacy he left are warmly cherished. I sat with Max today. Max, my dad's BFF, who visited while dad was in the hospital. Forgetful Max, who hung his head at the bedside and sobbed, saying, "get better soon . . . I sure miss you." Max, the grieving man who left it all at the bedside and absolutely ripped my heart out. Max. Sweet, sweet Max is getting better. The nurses tell me that he is coming out of his room now and that he is starting to find his way. He hugged me like there was no tomorrow and asked me to write to him. He told me he was honored to be a friend to my dad and that it was one of his life's blessings to have the privilege to spend time with dad.
It was an amazing day. It was a truly amazing day.