We remember them all

The stories we can know from reading cemetery stones are brief but often poignant. Read a stone marking the death of a young man in 1918 or 1942 or 1969 and you may guess this person died in the service of their country. And you wonder about the family they left behind, the life they didn’t get to live, the lives they hoped to ensure others could live.

This Memorial Day is poignant for me, being so far from home. But I’m thinking about all those who have served and are serving our country.

 

Last Memorial Day, I went home to Jackson County, Iowa. The Spragueville Cemetery, where my folks are buried was dedicating a memorial recognizing all veterans who’d served in all wars.  My dad served in World War II.

It was as pretty a day as you could hope for – blue skies, a breeze that kept the flags waving, peonies in full bloom. My cousin who served in Viet Nam and his wife joined us. Veterans listed on the memorial dated to the Civil War.  I was glad to see so many of my family’s friends and neighbors come for the tribute.

This month, we’ve been visiting Italian cemeteries.  We’ve seen many memorials to Italy’s soldiers who died in WWI. Today we saw our first memorial to soldiers who died in WWII. I felt a momentary conflict. Did these men take up arms against the Allies?

And then I realized it didn’t matter. These men left family behind. They didn’t live a full life. They died trying to ensure others could live.

It is Memorial Day. We remember them all.

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