A Humbling Easter Sunday

5th Marines

Easter Sunday turned out to be a tough day – emotionally for me, at least.

But it was even tougher for a 90 year old widow of the Greatest Generation.


Marge Johnson.

We went to visit her husband’s grave site…

Mr. Doreston “Johnny” Johnson.  Sergeant, United States Marine Corps.  World War II.


As I was cutting down trees and chipping the cuttings in the backyard this past Good Friday, Marge’s caretaker drove Marge up to see me.  What a pleasant surprise – besides, it gave me a great excuse to stop working. I hate yard work.

After chatting, she brought up her husband.  It had been a year since his funeral with full military honors and that she hadn’t been back to see him.

She didn’t need to say anything more.

We agreed I would take her to see him two days later – Easter Sunday.


Mostly, I will let the few pictures and short videos speak for themselves.

Her first words as she saw his gravestone:
Her first words as she saw his gravestone: “Oh, my darling…” in a quivering voice.

Mr. Johnson

They loved each other greatly.
They loved each other greatly.
She sat there, talking to him, for about 45 minutes. I left her alone for most of the time.
She sat there, talking to him, for about 45 minutes. I left her alone for most of the time.

She loved and missed him so much, she struggled out of her walker to kneel down and kiss his gravestone.  I offered to help and she said, “This is something I have to do on my own…”  Such fortitude.




After I DID help her back up (she said I could help her now), she reminisced with me at graveside before we departed:

On the way back to the car, we took a break (in the hot sun) as her legs are weak now.  As any great lady from that great generation does, she thanked me over and over for taking her to see her husband, especially on Easter Sunday, while crying.  I said to her that Mr. Johnson and Old Man Jack could never forget the horrors from combat but they were the greatest human beings – because they learned to forgive – and that it was an honor she asked ME… an American of Japanese descent, to escort her to visit with her husband.

These Americans from back then gave their all for our country… and nearly all of them have outlived their friends.  They are now alone – after all that sacrifice that you nor I will EVER weather.

I think they deserve better.

We should all try to return the favor, no matter how small the gesture, when the opportunity presents itself.

Indeed, a humbling Easter Sunday.

68 thoughts on “A Humbling Easter Sunday”

      1. Thank you to both of you… As they depart our world, even a small thank you would be a wonderful gift to them. My “gesture” was small – but fulfilling as well.

      1. This is about you, and Marge, and Sgt. Johnson. By the way, I forgot to say I thought the pictures, from the very first one, to ALL of them, were fabulous!

      1. You silly old bear. (Pooh reference). It is your writing. Your story. Your compassion and generosity. You must know that these things are appreciated.

  1. Well, I’m in tears. This is a beautiful post, although tremendously emotional. Bless this dear woman in her loss, and we are all losing something mighty special as these dear members of the Greatest Generation leave us. A humbling Easter, indeed, but God bless you for your kindness and compassion, Koji.

    1. I chatted with her at graveside about taking her to see Mr. Johnson. I took that opportunity to say that what he and Old Man Jack bitterly fought for was now standing together at graveside… a smaller world had evolved. She thanked me several times while breaking down. Then later, when we took a break in the sun (the vid), she thanked me again. I was overwhelmed… That’s when I asked her to stop crying…. 🙂

      Thanks for reading. BTW, I did find the pictures of the bell flowers. I will email them.

  2. Wonderful. Every picture tells a story, as Rod Stewart would say. You cannot help but fall in love with this couple.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Your post has brought me to tears.

    My husband’s adoptive grandfather and grandmother were of that greatest generation. A couple of weeks ago, they were in a terrible head-on car collision, where a young, unlicensed driver passed on a blind curve and smacked them in a van. 89 year old Tiny died a few days later from her injuries; 91 year old Bill survived with broken legs and ribs.

    Bill will recover, with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren there to comfort him, and faith in the Lord to strengthen him. Last year Bill and Tiny went together on an honor flight to remember his service. Thank God they were able to do it together–it will be a lasting memory for him and their family.

    Too soon the war will pass from living memory. We must listen to our grandfathers and remember them as you have here, on this blessed Easter Sunday. Thank you for this touching and memorable post.

    1. Kocart, I am terribly, terribly sorry for your family’s loss…and for Bill. To have lost his lifelong partner – I cannot imagine how he must feel. But I am very elated they had the privilege to go on that Honor Flight. This is truly one good use of federal funds – to honor Americans that gave their all and asked for very little in return.

      Thank you for reading…

  4. A solid set of photos, and I caught your video on Colleen/Chattermaster’s blog.

    I pay my respects to you in your bereavement. Sincerely, Noeleen.

  5. Wonderful to see … that love and affections don’t die … that the togetherness stays for some of us.Touching gallery – and so respectful. I can image that you embraced the honor to company her. Lovely story … today too.

    1. And that’s what it was… an honor. And it was more of an honor to have chatted with her for the six hours we were together. Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

      1. Fantastic … yes, we should take more time to talk and listen to our elderly … they have a life fare from ours … that we can learn from.

    1. Thanks but not I… Greatness is leaving us daily in the form of these now elderly citizens. Many lost their sons, fathers and husbands yet they worked in the factories in a massive war effort…and returned to living in a much changed world. A world we live in today.

  6. What is Marge’s relationship with you? Obviously she didn’t just randomly pull in your driveway to ask you to do this. What is the strength of the affection between you two? Inquiring minds are being nosy.

    It was a great story and I loved the pictures. I’m glad she didn’t mind you taking and sharing them.


    1. Hi, dogear6. Thank you for visiting. There are four short stories on her late husband in my blog. If you click on the colored text in this story, it will take you to the first one. I was blessed being neighbors with two WWII combat vets – both of whom fought against the Japanese in that bitter and horrific war. Thank you again for reading…

  7. We need to be reminded to honor them because of the great sacrifices they made so that we can enjoy life today. Thank you for your post. Beautifully written.

  8. Beautifully put Koji. Peggy’s 92 year old mom spent Easter with us. Her husband, also a WW II veteran, passed away three years ago. “John’s waiting for me,” she told us. And she told us again how he had been shot down in World War II and the military told her he was missing in action. Two weeks later he had walked out of the jungle. They were a Great Generation.

    1. Indeed, Curt, indeed. The younger generation – and even folks my age – have not suffered as our parents and grandparents have. Perhaps that is what is needed now.

  9. What a beautiful post, tears were in my eyes the entire time I was here. Seeing my son’s stone (also USMC) shoots reality back to you with too much velocity, but at the same time you need to be strong and not let them down. I can see Marge felt the same way – the girl has spunk.

  10. Sobbing. This really hit me.My daughter just left on deployment yesterday and I won’t see her for a year. I can’t even express how I feel. Love is eternal I see and it never goes away. Thank you for such a beautiful post.

    1. Ahh… The great Chatter Master… 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to read it! The Greatest Generation is leaving us daily and it saddens me quite a bit… but now, one more person is aware of them. Thanks again.

  11. Reblogged this on Masako and Spam Musubi and commented:

    Due to parenting duties, my story on the firebombing of Tokyo viewed from both sides had to take a temporary back seat for a few days… But it is Veteran’s Day. This is a story of the love for a WWII Marine’s wife who recently lost her veteran husband after 66 years of marriage. Cherish our veterans, I say…

  12. Yes, Koji, we must cherish our veterans. What a kind thing you did to take Marge to see her husband. Reading the words, “Oh, my darling . . .” made me cry. A beautiful love story and yes, humbling, too.

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