Today I tried to write but I was floundering so I took the kid for a wagon ride to down Victory Memorial Drive.
The path is lined with markers naming men (and at least one woman I’ve noticed, a nurse) who died in World War I, and this fact figures into my work in progress. Byron doesn’t know this, but lately as we pass those markers he wants me to read the names. He climbs out of the wagon to touch the relief. I tell him the names and the rest of it — their rank and where they served — but there is no other information.
The path is anchored by a marble monument with a flag. Byron is wowed by the flag and the eagle at the top of the flagpole. He loves to sound out the word “monument” and says it several times. He runs circles along the benches. Today I tried to explain what it means — that there are wars, and people die, and we put up pillars of marble later. It’s one of those things that we have to explain it to a three year old to wonder at it. We kill each other and pile stones. We tell stories about the fallen.
I doubt he understood any of it, but he held my hand and walked three times around the flag pole, with appropriate solemnity and ceremony.