14,325 days ago (39 years ago), a young man came back to the United States after his tour of duty, serving his country in Vietnam. He came through San Francisco on his way home. I don't know this man or know the details of the story, but I do understand that he was treated poorly, with disrespect and hate. It was wrong. It was undeserved.
14,325 days ago (39 years ago), I was learning to walk without the metal braces I'd had on my legs since I was a baby. No longer would people openly stare at me and ask my mother if I was a cripple, breaking her heart. I lived just outside of Washington DC when this young soldier came home to the United States, via San Francisco.
Luckily, I am the one who does not remember what that was like.
Sometimes, including 4 days ago, people write to leave a comment so that they can be HEARD from the rooftops, my rooftops, even though those rooftops are small and not many people are listening because they're all too busy thinking about something else.
In truth, I'd rather have comments that stay on topic to the post, because then I feel like someone actually took the time to read what I took the time to write. But I'd also rather publish a comment that had some feeling in it, rather than the millisecond comment "nice blog."
Today, I would like to thank that man who, 14,325 days ago, served our country proudly and with his heart and sweat and tears, and also say I'm sorry that he was treated shabbily and without honor, by a nation of which some people in some places were arrogant, ignorant and insensitive. I can't apologize for those particular people, or even for San Francisco, where this hurt occurred, because I wasn't one of the ones who participated in such behaviour, and I didn't even live here.
14,325 days ago, I was learning to walk and be a little girl.
14,325 days down Memory Lane is a long time. I know we all wander down Memory Lane, and lots of what we remember during our travels back there end up on our blogs and sometimes those memories end up making us smile, or may end up hurting us in painful ways we thought we had forgotten.
Or else we never left Memory Lane at all, and to me that is very sad and quite a waste of a life.
I would like to think that in 14,325 days, 20,628,000 minutes, or 39 years, people or places would shift and change and that my impression of them at some time in the past would be subject to improvement.
I would also like to think that for the next 14,325 days that this man has before him, if he is to be so lucky, and all of the days that possibly lie before all of us, that we spend more time looking forward than we do looking back, if it does not serve to make our lives more joyous.
We may not have 14,325 days ahead. We may only have a few.
First photo taken in the Haight, where all of the sidewalks have something to say.
Second photo taken in the sweet and haunting pet cemetery in the Presidio, where beloved pets sleep forever under the freeway overpass.