“Why do you still cry? Aren’t you used to the stories by now?” my 15-year-old son asked.
The answer is, no, I’m really not “used to the stories.” For example, when I read about a POW’s reaction to seeing the American flag raised when his camp was liberated, I remember the tears that rolled down his wrinkled cheeks when he told me the story. I cried with him that day.
I’m tearing up just thinking about it, now. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to read that paragraph without tears. These stories are true. These people are real. If their stories don’t evoke some kind of emotion in me, the writer, they’ll never resonate with you, the reader.
It was an especially moving reading for me because Dean and Betty Ratzman were sitting in the front row.
Dean’s heart had been damaged by Dengue fever during the war in the Pacific. He was told he wouldn’t live past age 40. Yet there he sat in the front row with Betty, his wife of 69 years.
Tears of joy. Tears of sadness. And an awful lot of laughter.
How blessed I’ve been to hear these stories and to share them with the world. I hope I never get used them.