Writers Tricks of the Trade ISSUE 1, VOLUME 9 - Page 15

knew his father. He was left with the stories his mother shared with the family for the rest of her life. She moved her children from New York to California, to make a better life. Her hus- band sacrificed his life for his country. His wife sacrificed to raise a wonderful family. She never forgot him. She never remarried. In 1994, after she died, she returned to Long Island and was interred with her hus- band. I sometimes wonder if maybe, some- where, while fighting in the deserts of North Africa, my wife's father and this po- lice officer's father might have met. The final stop was to see my friend Bill. We met the day we were sworn into the po- lice department. Bill was a Viet Nam veter- an who died of leukemia. Until that Memo- rial Day, I never knew his middle name was Walter. I didn’t know he was born in 1947, al- most three years older than me. I know he had a beautiful wife and a wonderful daughter and son. They made his eyes light up whenever he spoke about them. I know they miss him; there were flowers from a previous visit, at his grave. I know he was taken from us too soon in 1988—he was only 41. It seems like such a short time ago, that I was standing in a police honor guard, say- ing good-bye to my friend. I know he was a gentle soul and a good friend. He was there for me when I needed his friendship. He was also there for an elderly couple in his patrol sector. They were destitute, and Christmas was rapidly approaching. The old couple had a nice Christmas because W RITERS ’ T RICKS OF THE T RADE Bill filled their home oil tank with heating oil. He bought them food, a Christmas tree and presents to make their holiday special. He was a kind hearted and fun loving soul. He was a person I am glad I knew. I know you would have liked him. He was special. When he was 26, I saw him being teased by his brother. His father was listen- ing and gave him one of those fatherly looks with raised eyebrows. Bill just looked at him and said, "Oh Daddy!" You have to like a man who fought in a war, worked the streets as a cop, and could still call his father Daddy. I wish my wife had met Bill, but it never happened. I am glad she went with me on Memorial Day. She made the visit easier, with that special look she gave me as she held my hand. It let me know she under- stood. History has many sad commentaries. In the early 1960s, General Macarthur went back to the Philippines where he was greeted by cheering crowds. A young high school girl presented him with a bouquet of flowers, and welcomed him to the Philip- pines. She then asked a question that was filled with irony, "Have you been here be- fore?" With all that he and his troops had done, he was forgotten by the generation he fought so hard to keep safe. I am glad my wife and I decided to spend part of our day the way we did. Our veterans, alive or dead, are heroes to be thanked for all that they have done. They cannot be forgotten. I am glad I got to spend part of my weekend with some of them, amongst the shadows and the stones. P AGE 10 S PRING 2019