Nostalgia is a powerful force. Sometimes it sits besides you like an old friend and other times it sneaks up when you least expect it. Two recent holidays, National POW/MIA Recognition Day on September 15 and the Air Force Birthday on September 17 have evoked deep nostalgic feelings within me and reminded me of two songs, stylistically different, but similar in the memories that they represent in my heart and mind.
“The U.S. Air Force” or, as it’s better known, “Wild Blue Yonder” will always be a favorite song of mine (listen here). The minute I hear it, my throat constricts as I try my hardest to swallow the sobs and keep my tears from spilling out. At the same time, I am overcome with pride for my late husband Larry’s service and valor on behalf of our country. It’s been 46 years since Larry was killed—February 1971. When his remains were finally recovered and his funeral held at Arlington in 2007, the US government and I had kept our promise to bring him home safely.
“I Can’t Stop Loving You,” by Ray Charles (listen here), sits in juxtaposition to “Wild Blue Yonder” in the intangible list of greatest hits in my soul. In my book, Where the Water Meets the Sand, I write about my deep desire to have Larry’s remains back. It was only then that I realized that our relationship would be sustained forever, at the deepest level. Flesh and bones may die, but loving relationships never end.
This is certainly true for many of the important people I’ve lost in life: my father, mother, brother and my grandmother Nennie. As I celebrate 70 years, I’m more and more aware of how our lives are shaped by those who come before and after us, living and dead. Yet, our love for each other is what binds us together. This week, reflect on those who have passed on in body but whose love remains ever present in your life.