Last week I went into CVS to get a birthday card for my nephew, who is 21 today. How can that be?
So a man was at the cards and said to me that he was buying a birthday card for is wife, who was turning ....
I said be careful, it is very important to get this right.
Well, she will be 65 and the bathing suits on this card remind of suits she might wear a long time ago. You would not remember you are too young, you are about my daughters age.
Then he started talking about Alameda and its hey day as a Navy base and when I said I did not know that time, he asked where I was from.
Ah another East coaster. I am from Buffalo. My best friend joined the Marines and I went into the Navy. I really wish I had gone into the Marines.
I commented on the Colonel and the Colonel's son being Marines, my dad in the Navy and how I agreed that there was not much better to look at than a Marine in his full dress.
He showed me a picture of his son (Henry who works at Beverly's in South Shore) and his wife and himself at the Marine Birthday Ball at that Marines Memorial Club in San Francisco.
I told him one of my dearest friends was the general manager there.
He told me that his youngest son drowned at 10 and the Marines at the base gave him a full honor guard at his funeral and that he was buried not far from where we were.
When he noticed the tattoo on my forearm he told me about his and to never get one on my chest cause it hurts like a son of a gun.
He also told me of his youngest son who is fantastic artist and had tattooed his sister and how it took his daughter a long time to show him her brother's work on her back.
He asked my name and shook my hand. He told me that he volunteers at the Alameda Naval Museum and how it was started by a Wave that died last year at 93 years old. How she had raised a million dollars in war bonds during WWII. And that he and another guy were the only ones on the board of the museum that had served and those that have not just do not understand.
He is an 85 year old veteran and he was a great guy to talk to.
He made me wonder how many more years until there are no more WWII vets around. Korean vets? Vietnam vets are in their 60's now. There will always be veterans I know that. But how long until they are in the minority. When the people running the museum's dedicated to our armed forces have never served their country.
How many members of our government have never served? How can they possibly understand what it means to put your life on the line for your country.
I do believe that military service should be mandatory. That everyone - male and female should serve a four year military tour. Perhaps it is easy for me to say this because I have no children. Perhaps it is easy for me to say this because I come from a family that served and continues to serve.
I think a trip to the Alameda Museum might just be in order soon.