Today I started a new family tradition. I decided that Memorial Day would be the appropriate day to commemorate the yarhzeit of my Uncle Eddie. For although we light a candle for him each year on Yom Kippur, we never mark the anniversary of his death. We don't know what day that would be.
For years after my uncle's plane went down my grandfather held out hope that some miracle would find him alive. After all, no body was ever found. A musician--string bass and tuba--who worked many high society events attended by high military brass, my father tells how my grandfather would ask those generals, "please, find out what happened to my son." At some point, a letter came explaining that my uncle's name was found on a list of US servicemen at a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp.
I never knew my uncle, but I can remember him through his letters and his photos and through my dad, who most hold a piece of his brother within him. And remembering the life of his soul through me, witnessed by members of my community, keeps his memory alive.
In the morning, I recited the El Malei prayer and talked a bit about my uncle, and how that El Malei was not just for him, but for all who didn't come back yet still need to be remembered. In the afternoon I read the blog post I wrote on this day two years ago - words that touch my heart today.
Zichrono l'vracha - His memory is a blessing, and lives through the heart and soul of my family.