Fourteen years ago, I spent another Memorial Day saying goodbye to my grandfather.

V. E. “Red” McGee died May 27, 2000 from cancer.  It always seemed rather fitting to our family that my grandfather was buried on Memorial Day that year. He was a WW II veteran, having enlisted in the Navy with his parents’ permission shortly before his 16th birthday so that he could be stationed with his older brother.

Red McGee (left) with a Navy pal during WWII
Red McGee (left) with a Navy pal during WWII

Daddy Red, as my siblings and cousins and I called him, was a quiet man with a deep faith and a great sense of humor.  But whenever I recall him, the thing I remember about him was his love. He had:

~a love for God … for reading the Bible, prayer, dedication to the body of believers to which he belonged, and serving others

~a love for his wife … I still recall how he brought her coffee in bed most mornings, kept her car filled with gas, and showered her with affection in a hundred little ways

~a love for his family and friends …  children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, siblings … my grandfather loved spending time with those he loved

~a love for America and our freedoms … he was proud of his service to his country

~a love of nature and God’s creation  … whether it was hiking or hunting, or just taking the scenic route

~a love travel … my grandfather drove his RV to 49 states, Canada and Mexico, often stopping to help build churches  (with the Volunteer Christian Builders) along the way

~a love for ice cream … particularly Blue Bell ice cream. (I loved visiting my TX grandparents because Daddy Red believed in ending each day with a big bowl of ice cream, and the freezer was always stocked with more flavors than I ever knew existed.)

~and a love of laughter  … often when I remember the days I spent at his house as a child, I recall the gentle sound of his laugh, followed by a hearty “Boy Howdy!”

My grandfather would have likely laughed at his own funeral service. As a veteran and member of the local VFW, he had a flag draped over his coffin. Toward the end of the service, several veterans came forward to fold the flag and present it to my grandmother. They solemnly removed the flag and began to fold it, but halfway through realized it wasn’t going to end the way it should look. The veterans unfolded the flag and began to fold it again, only to discover they had the same results. I’m not sure how many times they folded and unfolded and folded that flag, but it seemed to go on forever. Somehow, those men finally got around to getting the flag folded. And each time I remember the scene, I giggle a little and somehow feel it was fitting for my grandfather who loved a good laugh while he lived.

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Today is Memorial Day. It’s a day of remembering, especially those who served in our military and honoring those who gave their life.

Like so many days throughout the year, I think about my grandfather on Memorial Day.  He was veteran, a proud American. a family man, a hard worker who lived a full life. More importantly,  he was a man of faith and I’m blessed to have been his granddaughter.

The memory of the righteous will be a blessing. ~Proverbs 10:7

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Who are  you remembering today? How is their memory a blessing to you?

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6 thoughts on “A Memorial Day Memory

  1. What a great way to honor your grandfather! It’s funny how sometimes the little things we don’t think about (like our grandfather bringing coffee to your grandmother in the mornings) influence those who are watching us. I remember being powerfully moved by my grandmother singing hymns while she washed the dishes… I think we can get so caught up in doing “big things,” that we overlook the small ways we can influence those around us…

    1. Indeed, John …all the little things become big things to those of us blessed to witness them regularly. By the way, my grandmother often sang hymns when she was in the kitchen too. 🙂

  2. In Canada we remember our veterans In November… and then I think of my oldest brother who only passed away about 3 years ago but he served in WW2 in the RAF ….
    But today is your day to remember your grandfather and he sounds like he was a wonderful man… Diane

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