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Eric's Sunday Sermon; Memorizing, Memoralizing, Memory and Memorial Day

Updated on May 26, 2017

I wonder why sunsets create such lasting memories

I suppose nobody ever asked me what memories to hold they just gave me life.
I suppose nobody ever asked me what memories to hold they just gave me life. | Source

And we are family

My Grandpa was a sailor and fought in both World Wars if my memory serves me correctly as I do not memorize such things. Maybe he simply worked for the Navy in the second one. My grandpa was really a carpenter. Back in those days they used carpentry on Naval ships. Maybe they still do but probably just welders. I know he slept in a hammock as he gave one to my mom that she would lay in with me and tell me about Grandpa and Ma.

My father had kind of a weird father and I don’t remember them being close. And dad never showed, and grandpa never showed any kind of feeling toward each other that I knew of. My dad was like a genius with more than just two doctorates. And yet he was a pro boxer to make money to pay his way through Yale. And he did a thing with his trumpet that they did back then calling it an opening of a new building. He played to open the RCA Record building in L.A.. He introduced me to both Mae West and Roy Rogers. And there is some picture of him with Einstein. So he was a little different than my Grandpa who only worked with his hands providing for my mother and grandmother during the great depression. I do not know much but it seemed to me back in the fifties and sixties that my dad and grandpa respected each other and enjoyed each other’s company. They built a very large cabin for my mom back then.

Just writing this and thinking back brings me tears of joy that I was raised by such great men. They taught a kind of respect that is not much really seen these days but I do my best. It was not a kind that is bandied about today. It was a walk softly and carry a big stick kind. You just did not cause confrontation but if there was one, you did not throw the first punch but you had damn sure better throw the last. There absolutely was none of this new age stuff about respecting my boundaries or me just because I exist. That would be the exact antethema of their notion of respect. The grit in your gut was the only thing that commanded respect. And the respect shown to others created the respect.

I cannot express my appreciation in words, my heart is all that can speak to those fine veterans.

We are all marked by those who did not come home.

Wasn't I cute!

I think today they would call my infancy as a "child with special needs". That is my lady with me on the front porch.
I think today they would call my infancy as a "child with special needs". That is my lady with me on the front porch. | Source

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord!

And then came two other men. Men of such stature that I would dream that I could be one day be worthy of their praise and not just their love.

Emmet Dijon was one properly proud man. He retired as a Marine Sergeant I believe. I do know that he fought in world war two in the Pacific and he fought in Korea. He worked the “green chain” down at our lumber mill. At the time the most productive in the world. We lived in the largest contiguous forest of Ponderosa Pine in the world. The “green chain” as I researched later but my dad told me was for sure one of the most dangerous jobs there was. Something about yanking around 1,000 pounds of a green growth trees to put it into lumber.

I do not know the ins and outs exactly but my dad said it was something about not being able to rest in his head that he needed the extra work my dad gave him. He was our land keeper. We had over 5 acres and it needed taking care of as did my mom with six kids. Round about 5-6 Emmet was my caretaker also. While he cleared stumps and planted and got rid of rattlesnakes and wild boar I was in his hip pocket, learning what real men did.

One time our ’53 chevy truck had an issue with a creek. Emmet got out instructed his son Emmet junior to place some wood under the front tire. Emmet lifted the front of truck to get it done. I swear I was young but I saw it done.

I did a year and a half stint as a color guard for my home town. You know the scouts or servicemen who parade out and raise the flag for ceremonies or present them to widows of KIA. You see it was during Vietnam hostilities and so scouts did it. Well Emmet Junior returned home from Vietnam a decorated and revered Marine hero. He had saved as his dad before him many a marine’s life. So I got to raise the flag for his honor celebration. My God how I was proud. Emmet and son in their full dressed out with metals showing uniforms. Service to man and nation was a new motto of mine. Both men gone now but I promise what they instilled in me is not gone.

Emmet was from Louisiana. Emmet was a great man. I later learned he was in some of the first battalions fully integrated as he was a fantastic Black Man and my earliest hero. It was understood that he was a good friend to Ira Hayes.

Freedom by and through sacrifice

This day we talked of heroes

His grandpappy lost his leg fighting for Freedom. Sargent in the Freedom fighters of Vietnam, he stood proud with the Green Beret but went to a concentration camp in the end.
His grandpappy lost his leg fighting for Freedom. Sargent in the Freedom fighters of Vietnam, he stood proud with the Green Beret but went to a concentration camp in the end. | Source

I just wish I could look in my father-laws-eyes to thank him for living long enough to give me my wife.

Look forward when memorializing the past.

And then there was the flat out man’s man and gentleman I call “Uncle Bill”, mom and dad had not brothers so they made Bill adopt us and nieces and nephews. And I understand that both my Mom and Auntie Gayle both lost their brothers during the depression for lack of care. Well it is no wonder that Auntie Gayle and Mom both became nurses and served during WWII as such together. Which is how my uncle Bill and dad met.

My dad was a doctor in the Navy. Not real anything important except being from Yale he served Admirals state side.

But Uncle Bill was a full fledged hero. He was in the Air Force. He flew 52 missions over Europe. A B-52 bomber pilot. They shot out his rear landing gear 6 times and he lost 10 rear gunners in the process. His planes shot down 20 German aircraft making him an Ace and then some. He flew 16 missions over Berlin in the height of the war.

And I knew none of this while I accepted him as my moral and gentlemen mentor. Until after graduating from my doctorate program he remained aloof to me and yet kind and gentle and a role model above all others, including my dad. He was the spirit behind my getting a doctorate in law and was my moral compass as I defended clear cut murderers and frauds. Was he more than that? Yes. Especially after Auntie Gayle died we spent hours and hours discussing such matters as morality being at the core of Jesus. He was not awesome he was super duper awesome and my biggest fan.

And he insisted that I use this crazy new technology to really get in touch and work with my dad. We did and dad and I both worked together with the new internet WHO – yes that one.

Now I am going to end this on a rather not so happy happy notion. Emmet, Dad, Uncle and Grandpa would really think you an ass for suggesting the “greatest generation”. They all held my hand and they all pointed me in good direction and that did not work for my generation. But it made my group awesome parents. My greatest generation is the one it took two generations to grow. That group in college now is awesome. Do not buy into the radicals, they have no moral compass or thesis for their movement. But our 30 somethings do. I think they are late bloomers and yet real contemplative. My elder children are and will be our greatest generation, thanks to the one that raised me.

I give this sermon in honor of all of our women who served but got no recognition even in their death.


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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lawrence I was just telling my elder children about my past and they don't believe me. It is fun though. I am glad this stirred something in you.

    • profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      17 months ago


      This was awesome! It made me think of some of the 'mentors' I've known, as well as my Dad and Grandparents.

      My two grandfathers served, one in WW1 and the other in WW2, both were wounded, but neither talked about it, it's only recently I've started to piece together what happened.

      To hear them talk they "didn't do much!" but that's not what the facts say!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Dora, you just made me think of you. Another beautiful chapter in life that you are a big part of. Thank you.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      17 months ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, a fine tribute to the heroes in your life. You were blessed then and still blessed now with the opportunity to pass on what they passed to you. Thank you for this interesting share.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Tim. I did that hang out thing with the old farts too. Doing as told to be seen but not heard. One thing that I learned later in life was that the women did not join in because they were excluded but rather because they respected. And for sure that went both ways. Maybe not important but interesting.

      We are not going down to see the festivities in Fighter Town USA, including the USS Midway today. We will look at photos and read about heroes instead.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 

      17 months ago from Escondido, CA

      Thanks for sharing your heritage that has impacted your life. I thank your family members who served this nation! Your article prompted me to remember my dad, uncles, and stories of distant relatives who served in wars; Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam. Interesting at family gatherings growing up I hung around the men in their gathered circles listening to their war stories. I know now it was therapeutic sharing them in a 'loving' setting. I give homage to them now. Thank You for the moments for this Memorial Day remembering those who did not return to share their stories.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      True that Clive

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      17 months ago from Jamaica

      God bless your grandpa. War is always ugly.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby my mom the nurse from Evanston later treated, as a psychiatric nurse all our vets from Nam and Korea for shell shock and addiction. Mostly they were somehow connected to jails. Now we call it PTSD. We have a lot of work ahead of us. But I see great strides.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      17 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This was a wonderful recognition of those who taught you about life. So many died in the wars past, hopefully there will be no more! I like that you remembered the women who served. I have a sister, Mary who is 93 and made bullets at the shipyard in Evansville, In. during the war, her husband Charles was in the army and came home on crutches. We have much to be proud of....

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda, my very straight forward mom once told me that I had not lived up to her generations standards, but that I had exceeded the expectations of me. And then she said that I had somehow taught her 3 grand children by me to meet the standards. I think that is good enough for me. Darwin creeps into our thoughts this memorial day.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      17 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, great men in your life, and more than a bit of them is in your veins. God bless all those who gave so much so that we could be here today. Thank you for sharing these stories.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Harish, I was under scrutiny for a security clearance and the Psych. Doc. thought I was manic, because I had an overblown sense of euphoria. So I wrote her a long letter about my life. And she changed the diagnosis to "a life worth being ecstatic about...."

      I have been blessed.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks much Elijah. I truly have been blessed with wonderful people in my life. And I grew up in a place that was about a decade behind in development than most of the US. We had kerosine lighting and no electricity for a few years at our summer cabin. A big old Ben Franklin stove to heat and cook. Showers under a waterfall. I could go on Elijah. Maybe a hub.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 

      17 months ago from New Delhi , India

      What a lovely tribute to the wonderful guys ! Eric, I loved reading this very interesting sunday sermon. Emmet and Bill are just outstanding, one lifting the truck and other fighting great wars ! I also liked you so fondly remembering your father and grandpa and other guys. A great hub indeed !

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      17 months ago from Washington DC

      Interesting life you had, my friend, some very interesting teachers for forming it. I was wondering where it was going and couldn't stop because it was so interesting.

      Now I see, this is Memorial weekend and you wanted to give due to those seldom ever mentioned. You did a superb job of it and on behalf of all girls who gave their lives without any mention or memorial I thank you.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill isn't a great thing to look around at all the good. We do not have to but we sure get to and there is a whole lot it. Have a great day.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Beautiful tribute, my friend. God bless them all...and God bless us all. We are all part of the giant circle that goes round and round.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      18 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John I salute your family. I cannot say in words how much I owe them, We are made great by their greatness, And you and I must stay true to our gift from them to be true to our gift to speak for them no matter how we may perceive how much we are appreciated.

      We are bound to record their history and love them with all our hearts. Amen to you brother.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      18 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This was wonderful, Eric. You certainly had some great men to influence your life. My father was the youngest of five brothers and one sister. His four brothers enlisted to fight in WWII so dad lied about his age so he could too. He was in the Navy, enlisted as a cook. His eldest brother died on our own Australian shores during the bombing of Darwin. Fantastic choice of music.


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