Column by Charity Griffin
For every memory, there is loss, and for every memory, there is hope.
This appears to be a very simple statement but it has taken me nearly 40 years to truly understand it. For me, this statement means so many different things, but mostly, it reminds me of all my friends that are war veterans.
I have worked with many of our World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans. I have had the pleasure of knowing the best of the best. The honor, love and loyalty these men and women possess have taught me more than anything else. They have shared their stories with me and let me in to a place within each of them that has not been seen by many others. Through their choked back tears, I found a strength that would not have been possible if it wasn’t for their experiences. They have taught me that through heartache come strong lessons, lessons that will make us stronger than we ever thought possible. Larry used to tell me, “Half the lesson is learned at the moment you decide to pull up a chair and sit down!”
Larry was barley able to stand on his own, his body broken and hunched over because of the shrapnel still lodged in his back from serving our great country in World War II. I saw his physical pain every day and how his body wouldn’t allow him to do the things he wanted. I also saw the strength he had in his heart and the self-dignity that hung on his shoulders. I am still to this day amazed that his physical pain never did overcome his will to teach others of self pride and self forgiveness.