Sunday, August 7, 2011

August and Andrew

The Department of Veteran Affairs estimates that veterans of World War II die at an average of at least 1100 a day. I know not how many died on Friday, August 5, 2011. Sadly, I know of one close to my heart who did:


On Friday morning, Joe's big brother Andrew Bozzomo died at his home in Somerville. Uncle Andy was ninety-three. He died two months to the day after his ninety-third birthday.

Last October on Halloween weekend we took a trip to Washington, D.C. I knew when we planned it that neither Margaret nor Suz had been to D.C. I did not realize that Joe had not been either. Among the sights we saw was the World War II Memorial.

If you have never seen it, you should go. It is situated on the Mall between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. I have had the opportunity to spend a part of three different days at it over the course of the past three years.

Not only is the Memorial visually stunning, it is visited on a daily basis by veterans of all branches of the military. It is an extraordinary experience getting to meet - even if but for a minute or two - a person who laid his life on the line in World War II. It is a profoundly moving experience to stand back and watch as men, all of whom are now late in life, pause before the part of the Memorial that identifies a campaign in which they fought. I have seen a number of them bow their heads in silent reflection and touch a hand to the Memorial, as if reconnecting with the brothers in arms who fell there....wherever "there" happened to be.

The Memorial has a kiosk adjacent to its information office. You can enter the information you have about a World War II veteran for whom you are searching into the computer and the results of your search appear on the kiosk's color video screen. Among the happiest days of my father-in-law's life (at least in the two decades that I have known him) was October 30, 2010. He stood before the kiosk and read the information about his big brother Andy - the only Bozzomo who served in World War II.

Friday morning, we the people of the United States lost at least one more member of The Greatest Generation. And for the fourth consecutive summer, my wife's family shall have to break out mourning clothes. Uncle Andy will be laid to rest on Tuesday, which is the 9th. And which is the 3rd anniversary of the death of Margaret's Aunt Meni. Try as we might, we simply cannot complete the journey from June to September without losing at least one person we love.

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened. - Dr. Seuss. Here's to a life well-lived, and a rest well-earned. And to a safe journey....


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