For her Memorial Day post, Melissa Green shared a poem, The Rain, by Zbigniew Herbert. What I found in it was a reminder of a friend who had been best man at my wedding, had the office next to mine when we were reporters, wrote the script and scouted locations for the video we made to celebrate my then-husband's 40th birthday.
Both my maternal grandparents served in World War I on the battlefields of France, my father in the South Pacific. My family was shaped by war, grandparents meeting on the troop ship to Europe, mother and father meeting at the University of New Mexico, she a fine arts major, he in officer's candidate school.
With my grandparents, I grew up in the front row of every event that celebrated veterans. Both were American Legion, almost as a religion. Once their children were grown and married, their vacations were summer tours of Legion conventions. On many outings and Sunday drives, Grandpa's Mercury filled - since why would you go somewhere with a nearly-empty car - with fellow Legionnaires, I was the only one without a cap. (President Carter will stand in for my grandparents as cap model.)
Because of Herbert's poem, because of all the departed or lost and because he is my favorite ex-mailman/poet, I will let John Prine sing for my friend Jack.