Memorial Day affects people in different ways. There’s the pride of having fought for one’s country. There’s the remembrance of bravery and courage under astounding odds. There’s the chauvism of those who believe wars are necessary . . . and the fury of those who believe they’re not.
For me, this year, there’s heartbreak.
The other night, I went to our local school board meeting. In addition to the issue I wanted to address, there was a ceremony to commemorate the Albuquequerque Public School graduates who have died in the Iraq war so far.
A high school honor guard started the service. The commander yelled his incomprehensible instructions with precision in a high monotone. The slap and clack of guns being cocked and handled filled the air. The thump-thump of marching feet brought a hint of military parading to the proceedings. The boys presented the colors, holding the flags at 75-degree angles and then resting the poles on the floor. Each teen stared straight ahead, emotionless, head shaven and mouth set in a hard line.
Every one of them looked so young to me . . .
As a writer, I imagined what it would be like to say goodbye to a child, knowing that he or she was deliberately going into harm’s way. No matter what the reason or rationale, it would tear me apart.
That night, I cried . . .
All of us probably have compelling and oft-opposing takes on this particular war — and I don’t want this post to be a discussion about that. It’s not my purpose today.
Instead, no matter what you feel, please join me in taking a moment to remember all of those young people — the sons, daughters, sisters and brothers — in this century and those before, who lost their lives far too soon.