On Memorial Day I always think of my grandfather, Carl Cram. I remember being just a little boy, sitting in the garage at his feet, smelling the combination of engine oil, sawdust and hot tar from the sun outside. He'd sit in his chair in the cool dark, drinking beer and eating pickled pigs feet (often offered, never tried). If I was very lucky, he'd tell me stories. Funny and gross stories, like the time his plane bombed a whale thinking it was an enemy submarine. Exciting stories, like when they lost both engines and had to turn back, but the nose landing gear wouldn't deploy so he had to get into the nose cone and crank it out by hand while the tarmac rushed up at him. Sad stories, like losing his best friend.
I remember a lot of things about Grampy - the feel of his unshaved whiskers on my cheek, the smell of Old Spice, his love of Star Trek - but those moments in the garage, hearing tales of when he was young and had to go to war - those come back to me often, and never more than today.
For my grandfather. For all those who served. Thank you. You are remembered.