of the eight men in the photo above, only one is still alive. my Dragon is fourth from the left. he is gone. the man fifth from the left is still alive. he has become my constant friend, the giver of the stories now.
my Dragon served his country and now he is a name to be remembered in and around the car sales and Macy's Patriot sales on dresses and shoes. along with all the others who have served their country and are now only names on the lips of their grieving loved ones, he is now one of the flags that hopefully jog something in the minds of those hosting barbeques. maybe, when grandpa falls silent, lost in his memories of Vietnam, Korea, or WWII, the children will be told of the respect they should show him and why he is quiet. maybe over their hamburgers and hotdogs and steaks, heads will be bowed for a moment of silence to those who fought for the freedoms they enjoy.
my Dragon knew and he honored Veteran's every Memorial Day, really every day. in the mornings of Memorial Day, we would visit the cemetery. afternoons were spent walking the beach and paths all over Cape Ann. sometimes he talked. sometimes he did not talk. when he would fall silent he would just reach for my hand and squeeze it. and i knew. the memories were too much to speak of and i squeezed his hand back to let him know i accepted his silence. i was there for him, with him, always for him.