When Leaves Cry

One Nation Under God, Photo Story, Poetry

Any nation that does not honor its heroes

will not long endure.”

– Abraham Lincoln

That’s me, saluting and blowing a kiss. If this flower can do it, so can I, right?

Memorial Day. Would I be stretching it to say that most people don’t give it a moment’s thought beyond the three-day weekend tip-off to summer? This breaks me. Right in half.

Even the leaves cry
for those who suited up,
defended our country,
and in doing so, died.

Even the leaves cry
for those who got a folded flag,
after their loved one
was put in the ground because the soldier died.

Even the leaves cry
for those who fought,
suffered, killed, survived,
but now feel guilty because they didn’t die.

Even the leaves cry
for those who came home
and tipped the bottle
swallowing a slow, agonizing way to die.

I have spoke here before of the military blood that has filled veins and arteries of my family, and that of my husband’s. Our grandpas. Our uncles. My father. And even my mamma. As a kid that is what I wanted too. To serve my country. To defend the weak. To honor those around me, and those in the ground underneath me.

But much to my dismay, while in high school, I was told that I could not enlist. My “condition” made it impossible. I had been toting around a loaded syringe of insulin since I was nine. That precluded me from being a soldier. Isn’t it odd that I never thought my diabetes would hinder me? I mean, really? I wasn’t a stupid kid. Apparently I was just uninformed or perhaps my judgment was just clouded. Clouded with what? Dare I say allegiance or even honor?

So, all those nights I stayed up late watching China Beach, and all times I spent wondering what really happened to my father out in the air above Vietnam, and all the times I stood looking at the starched uniform pictures of family, were going to stay as remnants only in my mind and would never become reality in my hands?

A soldier girl at boot camp training with a heavy ruck sack, would never become a reality in my hands? A military medic pressing down with all her might to stop the bleeding of a gaping bullet-shredded wound, would not become reality in my hands?

A nation which does not remember

what it was yesterday

does not know what it is today,

nor what it is trying to do.”

– Woodrow Wilson

Do we remember our yesterdays? I mean, do we really remember? Fleeing from tyranny. Fighting for freedom.

We have watched the 1957 film version of the Johhny Tremain story (based on Esther Forbes’ 1943 novel by the same name) several times in the last couple of weeks. It is on loan from the library, hence the multiple viewings. My son is a red-coat fighter through and through. He sits on the edge of his seat. He holds his wooden rubber band gun in one hand and his Daisy in the other. And his mamma marches around the couch singing aloud words to the movie’s theme song, The Liberty Tree,

It’s a tall oak tree and a strong oak tree,

And we are the Sons, yes, we are the Sons, the Sons of Liberty.

Stand for the rights of man, boys.

Stand against all tyranny.

Hang the of light of freedom, boys,

High on the Liberty Tree.

There comes a time in the affairs of men

when they must prepare to defend,

not their homes alone,

but the tenets of faith and humanity on

which their churches,

their governments,

and their very civilization are founded.”

– Franklin Delano Roosevelt

When I was a junior in high school, the movie Red Dawn had been released about five years prior. Although most students had already seen it, we watched it in its entirety in government class. I remember wondering what I would do if helicopters landed and communists tried taking over my school and my community. I knew not how, but I knew without a doubt that I would fight.

About the second day into the film-watching, two fellas in class gave me the head-nod thing in the mostly dark room. I wondered if they wanted to copy my notes. “What?” I said.

They got real close, looked at each other, looked at me, and one whispered, “If this happens here. We want you. We want you to be with us.”

I must have given them my half-cocked eyebrow look because the other said, “We already talked about it. And you are with us. Okay?”

“Okay, fine,” I said, biting my lip to hide my smile.

Come on, I was in high school and two of the athlete-good-lookin’ types just told me they thought I was worthy of their company in case WWIII broke out in Smalltown, Idaho.

Even though back then I didn’t know the Lord, I knew what it was to stand up for what was right. Now that I hold tight to God and I am an official Bible-thumping, gun-toting, tea-tosser, I will continue to do the same. If I never wear a uniform of this nation and never have to go to war to defend her liberty, I will not forget those who did. What about you?

When leaves cry, so will I.

My grandpa. He was a radio operator. He was short and he was fast. He used to say that he ran beneath the bullets. I have never minded being short.

My grandpa, again. Before returning to his Montana roots, I have heard that the army sent him to a specialty army equestrian school. Maybe something like mounted police. I have done some research to find out more, but to no avail. Anyway, here he is at home. Wonder where I get my tenacity from? Could it be the Indian blood, coupled with the grandpa blood? I reckon so.

* I took those crying leaf photos the other night following days of rain. The tears glistened with such beauty that I had to capture some of them before they fell to the ground–and were forgotten.

Memorial Day is way more than a three-day weekend around here.

And if you also value the freedoms of our great nation, be wary because the hands of tyranny are tightening once again, all in the name of political correctness and socialism. Oh come on, don’t turn a blind eye. You need to stand up for what is right and righteous. Here is one reason to stand atop your soapbox…

* ENDA President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats are quietly rushing through legislation (H.R. 3017 & S. 1584) that would actually bring cross-dressing teachers into your child’s classroom. Under the so-called, Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), your children will be trapped in classes taught by drag queens and transgender activists. Students will be indoctrinated that “alternative lifestyles” are no different than traditional lifestyles. Young children will be forced to learn about bizarre sexual fetishes – and you will have no say in the matter. It is already happening in some states and concerned parents can’t do a thing about it – until now.”


Go there to read more about ENDA and to sign a petition. (Quote taken directly off the ENDA Hurts Kids web site).


5 thoughts on “When Leaves Cry”

  1. What a beautiful post my friend! Wow your words are powerful. Truly powerful. It's not just a three day weekend around here either. We remember. Love to you this day!

  2. Profound thoughts and memories here. And these photographs are gorgeous. I've missed your deep words and passion. We remember today too.

  3. Agreeing with Laura and Jennifer and the boys that wanted you on their side!!! I want you on my side, too!!!!

  4. Oh my, loved these words. When my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes at five, the first thing she said was that now she wouldn't be able to be a Marine. I'm not sure where she got that from, but it says a lot about the patriotic blood that runs through my family.And if the Russians ever do land (or the Chinese, or anyone else), I wouldn't mind having you with me, either.

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