Friday, December 28, 2007

The Next Generation

I've been thinking about my Grandma a lot this past Christmas season. I made a conscious choice to stay away from my family for Christmas because I could not handle being in Malad for Christmas, and not have my Grandma there. I've done a whole bunch of pity-partying and crying over it, but today I realized something powerful that's really changed my outlook on things.
The next generation of amazing, loving, understanding, insightful, perfect Grandparents is aleady in the making. I know for a fact that my nephews absolutely adore their "Gamma", could not live without their "Papa", and Jenna Lee cries for basically everyone, yet stares in silent awe at my dad. I look at my Aunties who are grandmas already, and those that are preparing to be grandmas, and it really stuns me how blessed my little cousins are to have the grandparents they do. It makes me glad to know that they will always have a shoulder to cry on, always have a cheerleader, and always have a Grandma's presence, even if I can't have MY Grandma.
The kids are not the next Generation I'm talking about, though. We've got a new generation of Grandmas and Grandpas coming up right now. Something about that knowledge makes me feel really hopeful and excited. I feel like the new "Grandmas" in my life have completely lived up to the example MY Grandma set, and I can't wait to see more of it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Pearl Harbor Day

Wow. I feel incredibly emotional about Pearl Harbor Day today. I am not sure why, but I just do.

I feel like in our society, it's become an antiquated, forgotten holiday--Something our parents/grandparents celebrate and remember, but way too far in the past for us. Looking at the calendar I have hanging up, it's not even listed (but thank goodness I know when the Emperor's Birthday is in Japan [the 23rd of Dec; observed on the 24th this year ]. I am not quite sure how I would survive without that bit of information)

I'm saddened that we as a country and society do not remember. We don't have to necessarily remember each death (2390 of them) or all of those wounded (1178), but I think we can at least stick a tiny line on our calendars. Maybe we could remember the 37 sets of brothers and a set of father/son that were stationed on the USS Arizona. Maybe you want to remember the 64 members of the Japanese Navy that were killed. Maybe you like to remember the passionate kiss that happened in the movie Pearl Harbor. Any kind of remembrance works.

I tend to favor the USS Arizona memorial as a remembrance. As Alfred Preis, its architect said, "Wherein the structure sags in the center but stands strong and vigorous at the ends, expresses initial defeat and ultimate victory....The overall effect is one of serenity. Overtones of sadness have been omitted to permit the individual to contemplate his own personal responses...his innermost feelings."

The quote about its architecture is so true to me. It's not an overly depressing or sad-looking building. It's definitely not imposing or dramatic. It is a serene, simple, and understated memorial, but it is a very powerful one. I love this picture of the Memorial, with the shadow of the ship visible. My "emotional response" is so strong I sometimes want to cry over this picture. Don't ask me why. Maybe it's because the first memory I have of this place is one I share with my Grandparents, who instilled within my mother, and then me an incredibly strong sense of pride in my country and patriotism. More likely, though, it's because of all the young (and old) men that lie entombed at the bottom of this memorial, lives utterly wasted if we forget them.