I keep the cross my grandfather
wore around his neck on his
dog tag chain from WWII in my wallet.
I have transferred it to each new
wallet to keep it safe and close
to me at all times.
It is a talisman of sorts for me.
I often attribute my survival through
the various dangers of youthful life,
stupid adventures and poor choices,
to this simple cross once worn through
the terrors of war.
It is the most personal of Memorials
I can have. It is a treasure to me and
I do not know what I would do if I
foolishly lost it or had it taken from me.
To not have it, this Memorial,
I would be demolished.
I also keep the obituary of my other
grandfather in my wallet. He too was
a WWII Vet. It is tattered and worn
from all the transitions from wallet
to wallet. It too is a Memorial I hope
keeps me safe from harm.
I’m okay with giant statues and
chiseled facades depicting the heroism
of all those men and women that have
stood up for their beliefs, who took it
upon themselves to sacrifice their lives
for the betterment of those that come after.
Those statuesque Memorials are for the collective
consciousness to remember, and while
important, they lack the visceral intensity
of holding a sacred item in your hands,
you cannot turn a plaque or statue over through your
fingers and feel the weight it is burdened with.
You cannot run your fingers across the small
details of a special trinket without the fires of
memory igniting in your mind,
flashing to scenes of those times,
now so long gone. A precious item
of innumerable value to inspire and comfort.
Personal Memorials, the weathered photo, the broken locket,
the knick-knack on a shelf, the item that means
absolutely nothing to a stranger
yet means everything to you.
These are the Memorials I value
more than any other.