Meet my Pappa Mike Di Domenico. We are a family with a long line of veteran pride. But on this Memorial Day we spent our time making sure this WWII veteran made it to a special honor in Sierra Madre. We weren't sure he would make it to the flag draped cemetery ceremony, he had been in the hospital for a week. But as luck would have it,OK my sister Pam really wanted him to be there, because he was going to be honored. So it wasn't luck, but a sentimental sister and doctor who thought, this soon to be 96 year old, shouldn't miss this Memorial Day Service. Time was ticking, he was discharged and went from the halls of the hospital to the scene at the cemetery in 30 minutes.
As attendees wondered the small cemetery glancing at the tombstones marked with with flags, wondering about the lives of those lost, Pappas face appeared deep in thought.
Not sure about what, but soon his fellow VFW members from post 3208, lightened his load. Their faces show a special bond, held together by pride, camaraderie and stories in the trenches.
The jarring sounds of a 21 gun salute...
This Memorial Day was filled with American Pride everywhere we looked at this hillside service. But for Pappa, a shy quiet man, it was about to become more memorable than he ever imagined. You see as his fellow veterans held their frail friend up...
Then a smile that I won't soon forget grew across his face.
sang the Star Spangled Banner as he waved his broad stripes and bright stars...
My sister was beaming, my brother in law held him lovingly and I just kept photographing what I knew was a moment in our family history, one that I wanted to freeze in time. Was he happy that he came to this Memorial Day program straight from the hospital, you decide.
THANK YOU VFW POST 3208 for you truly represent the "Land of the Free and The Home of The BRAVE!" It was a privilege for this Veteran TV Journalist and creative force behind Debra Snell Photography to witness and capture these important images for Memorial Day 2011.
"Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul."
-Michel de Montaigne