Live, on Tv.
No one in my Generation has.
The last time was 1972.
The First time was July 21, 1969.
For some that feels like yesterday.
But I have never seen it.
It is a past that is taken for granted.
It is a past that has never been seen by more than half of the people walking the earth today.
Today: I got to hold the past in my hands.
I have never felt something in my hands feel: So surprisingly light. and yet so extraordinarily heavy. It felt curious. Like holding a moon rock would be curious.
Just proof, of where we have been. And knowing that this was someplace else. A place that meant something. Something that "Humbles the Undertakings of Most Men."
It all registered in my head, all at once, like the smashing of all the keys on a typewriter.
Here it is. Proof. A piece of tin.
This little stamped piece of tin was what John Saarloos was wearing this when he died.
and i Missed him.
We talk about the man so much I feel like I know him.
Yet I have never met him.
I missed a person I have never met....
I then remembered seeing my grandfather tear up when he talked about him.
I then remembered how strange that felt.
How I saw him as a person, and not as my Grandpa.
I guess it is a lot like when you realize that your parents were alive before you were.
John wore this piece of tin, pounded with his name, numbers and typo.
With his mothers name pressed into it. His mothers name who remarried since his father had died, His mothers name, a different last name than his.
With his her address. When he was so far away from home.
An address I have been to many times. To see the woman on the Tin.
My Great Grandmother Tillie De Boer. In the little yellow house, with the stained glass that the light shined through in the afternoon, that lived around the corner from my grandparents that drove the electric car.
And I remembered what it was like to be 6 again.
The address that was so far away, from the place he died.
A place he went so his brothers would not have to.
"What if" Gilbert,
My Grandfather, would have enlisted instead of John.
What if, What if, What if.....
All of those unanswered questions.
But, I guess Life is Full of all of those "what if's" I have never seen a man walk on the moon.
"What Is" Is much more important than any "If"
It was an amazing, curious, experience.
And now we have another piece of the proof of who John, was and Is to our family.
Simple Proof of where we have been as a Family.
To keep us on task. To know where we are going.
Thank you John.