Last weekend I tagged along with my husband as he was to speak at a small Polish Veteran’s club in Massachusetts. He will often speak on behalf of the Air Force or veterans because I think he feels honored to do so. This is why he is the grown up in our relationship and why I am always learning from him.
The club was being dedicated to Capt John Ogonowski, a 9/11 pilot whose plane hit the first tower. He left behind his wife and three daughters. I knew all this beforehand but what I didn’t know was how I was about to change on that somewhat sunny and breezy Sunday afternoon. Much like my husband he was a farmer who loved airplanes and joined the Air Force…his parents are quirky New England folk and his wife and daughters felt like instant friends. He was no longer just a name on paper that I read a tragic story about.
This wasn’t a memorial service but a day for him and his family and friends. They had taken a large rock from his farm and had it etched for the front of the building. It was very pretty. I sat amongst the crowd that was mostly Polish people and listened to their stories with their Boston-like accents. They all knew John, from the diner, the post office, from grammar school. We stayed all day and ate food and heard stories and ate more food. It was humbling.
I felt his void within his family and his land. And these emotions can’t seem to leave my mind.
The uplifting part of all this is getting to know his family and seeing their spirit for life and how much he still lives through them is really a beautiful thing. And though I have never met him he has taught me so much about my own husband and that intense drive he has for the things he loves most. Even if it’s the smell of silage or fresh cut hay.
Hopefully I haven’t depressed you all with my thoughts, even though it was an awful thing that should never have happened we should never stop learning from it. And learning is always a good thing for everyone.
I realize this is a hard post to comment on…that’s okay. I just felt compelled to write.