November 30, 2012
How does anyone express gratitude to one who has given love when it was needed?
I grew up in Metuchen, New Jersey, and I grew up along side of Bob Nann, who was our “star.” He was “the athlete,” playing football, basketball, and baseball in our high school and he was “the star.” I did play sports but I was never in the league that Bob Nann played in. He was truly exceptional.
We graduated together and went to college. Bob ended up a Marine and, of course, was sent to Vietnam. I did not know this until much later when Bob called me and told me that my brother, Charlie, who was killed in Vietnam, would be honored in Memorial Park in Metuchen. When I met Bob, he told me that he had seen the firefight in which Charlie had been killed and I found myself home and with a place of solace and peace in Memorial Park. Bob, despite what he had “experienced” in Nam, reached out to me and gave me comfort and brotherhood. He cared for me.
How does one express gratitude for such acts of human kindness? For such acts of love? I do not know. I suspect there is no way to do so beyond remembering, beyond sanctifying the act itself.
It is said by some that “the dead” are not really “dead” until all those who knew them have also died. I believe this. Bob Nann will always reach out to me until the day I die. And I will love him until then.