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Paul Barclay Follow Up

May 28, 2008

This year Memorial day was more than just a barbeque, although it was that too, and an excellent one to boot!

The wonders of the internet: Paul’s widow’s brother googles Paul’s name, comes up with the previous post, calls Paul’s sister, who calls her mother, who calls my mother, who calls me to say his parents were quite touched that I wrote something about their son for Memorial Day. So I finally did what I said I would do when I originally wrote the post 2 years ago- call his folks.

I’m so glad I did. For people like me with no family history of military service- in fact not even knowing anybody currently serving- things like war and death are mostly abstract realities. Not so for Paul’s parents. It was good for to experience, if only for a few minutes, what their particular reality is like.They are proud of their son’s service. But as his Mom gently reminded me, they miss him very much every day. Even though they’ve learned to cope with the loss; event though they’ve come to terms with the details of the freindly fire incident.

For me it was a bit awkward having a little bit of book knowledge and no real experience, but I think I also really needed to make that call. I have this overwhelming desire to thank them and all that have lost loved ones – and who serve currently. Not because it makes me a good person, or because if feels good (I had no idea) but because they deserve it. Honor is real.

Of course, I had some factual errors; the main one being that Paul did get his diploma in 1987, 3 months after his classmates graduated. He was much more involved in Operation Provide Comfort than I had realized, and was very happy in his work according to his parents. I also found out that there was (of course) a lot of military service in the family; his dad enlisted when he was 14 (not a typo); his grandfather served in the British Expeditionary Force in Egypt and on his mother’s side there was a history as well.

That’s how the day started. The rest of the day was amazing; relaxing, productive and long in a good way. It ended with a couple of nice margaritas and a New York Strip grilled up real nice. We thanked God for those who have fallen on our behalf and enjoyed or food.

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