Monday, July 7, 2008

Iwo Jima

On 4th of July, Taylor was invited to ride on a float with veterans. She was very excited about this and was very honored. It was at this parade last year, she met her friend, Floyd Holes. He fought on Iwo Jima and he was with Joe Rosenthal when the famous picture was taken. Floyd was a communicator with the 28th Marines 5th Division.

Taylor was able to meet with Floyd on several occasions and just sit and talk with him. He was a bit hard of hearing, but sharp as a whip and a memory that was amazing. He had written a book about his time and he gave Taylor a copy of it and signed it for her.

We went to a military appreciation dinner and Floyd and his wife Millie were guest of ours. There is a post about Floyd further down on Taylor's blog.

Why am I writing about this again? Because Taylor was so incredibly excited to ride on the float and to be with Floyd again. When we saw Floyd, we could tell right away how much he had aged since we last saw him in the fall. He was now using a walker and he looked much older. Taylor almost trembled with excitement as he got closer. He got to where she was and she just threw her arms around him, so happy. Sadly, Floyd did not remember his 'little Marine gal' as he so affectionately had called her on their many visits together.

It took some work to get Floyd up on the float, but once they did, Taylor climbed right up to be with him. She told him who she was and he just didn't remember. He told her the a few of the stories he had already told her, but she sat there and listened to him as if she had never heard them before. I could tell she was sad, but she smiled at him and listened intently. While Floyd may not remember her or many things from recent history, when he spoke of his time on Iwo Jima, he was very clear on what he had to say.

I post about Floyd and Taylor's heart break so that any of you reading this realize, this great generation of WW11 veterans are leaving us fast. Do not wait, do not hesitate to visit with a veteran. Do not wait or hesitate to find out their story. Even if you know them, and they act as if they don't know you and tell their story to you again, listen with your heart. There will be a time, in the very near future you won't be able to hear that story first hand. There will be a time in the very near future you won't be able to look into the eyes and a real hero as you shake their hand and thank them for what they did for this country.

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