Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Dear JJ,

Today is Memorial Day - the last Monday in May, when we honor those who died in the service of their country. Some of us choose to remember those who have died and who served - like my brother - the person you are named after.

Jimmy served in the US Navy - and there was a period of time when his battleship the USS Henderson went into silence. He never talked about what happened - but after Jimmy died we discovered he had three metals for his service.

More important than military service was the type of person he was: he loved kids (and had he lived to know you he would have spent hours playing with you) - he loved dogs (the photo is of him with Chili ) and when he died, at age 55 -- at his Memorial Service there were so many people who knew him from high school (the Memorial Service was in Oregon, he went to high school in Alaska). Jimmy had a smile, he would lend a hand to any, and if you felt bad Jimmy always had a way of making you feel good.

Jimmy and your uncle Ron were best friends - they grew up together-- I came along six years after Jimmy. But Jimmy had a way of making everyone feel like they were his best friend.

So, son - I wanted you to know something about the man you are named after. Know this- there are a lot of people who want to meet you - who love you already (besides your mom and I).

While I don't want to discount Memorial Day - and those who gave their lives serving - what I have learned is this: it isn't how you die that makes a mark on this world - it is how you live. It doesn't matter how much you make-- your riches are your friends. And at the most inconvenient time for you to help someone - is often the time they need it the most, and will remember it the most.