Friday, July 10, 2009

A Look Into the Past

Last night my daughter came over and we had a scrapbooking night at my kitchen table. It’s always a pleasure to have the kids here, but it’s a special treat when we can share an interest like this. She’s working on a baby book for her husband, and I had several pictures of my dad to add to his Korean War album.

Since Dad is no longer with us, it’s a bittersweet experience to work with his pictures. I can’t ask him who the people in the pictures are, and have no idea about the order in which they should appear. A few of the pictures have names and dates printed on them in my father’s precise lettering, but most are a mystery. Nonetheless, I put them on the pages, trying to group them in what I thought was a logical arrangement.

There were pictures of soldiers at work in the field – men intent on doing their job in a foreign land. There’s Dad, hunched over a map illuminated by a single bare light bulb. Men are shown maneuvering tanks and other heavy equipment. Other pictures were taken during quieter times, smoking, drinking, or attending a makeshift church service. A few included Korean children at play, with American soldiers watching them. And there were several taken at the Army hospital where Dad was recuperating after sustaining his injuries.

I suppose I will never experience firsthand the things that Dad and his comrades had. And I suppose it’s a coincidence that I happened to be working on his military album just a few days after Independence Day. But I thought again how fortunate I am that men and women like Dad have been willing to put their lives on the line for things they believed in. It’s so humbling. And when I want to complain about the state of my life, I have to think about what it could be like without these brave souls.

Thank you.

PS It’s been a week, and I’m keeping both goals! On to Week Two.

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