This past week we observed Memorial Day, a day that some may consider a "holiday." I suppose how you spend Memorial Day has something to do with how you regard those who serve or have served in the military. Having someone in your family or being someone who has experienced war, who has lost friends, who has seen what cannot be unseen, can make all the difference in how one understands the idea of memorialization. Though Memorial Day focuses on those who sacrificed their very lives for their country, this time of year always brings me back to the memory of my grandfather, who taught me that to memorialize is not to romanticize.
In creating this layout for the October Afternoon Memorial Day blog post, I was reminded of one of the most powerful, visceral books that I have ever read, Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. I prefaced the post with a quote from that book: "...The thing about remembering is that you don't forget." There is so much in that book that helps me to get a little closer to understanding why my grandfather was the way he was and why his memory did what it did to him, even though I know that I never fully will.