Sunday, July 02, 2006
While we were in Branson a couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to visit the traveling Viet Nam Memorial. It is a replica of the "Wall" on which the names of soldiers who died in Viet Nam are recorded.
A close friend of mine, David McClelland, is named on that wall. He and I grew up in the same neighborhood, just a few houses apart. We went swimming together, played touch football in our front yard, went to high school together.....Dave was my friend, and a Marine, and he died at the age of twenty, on patrol, along with everyone else in his patrol. His body was not recovered for more than six weeks.
Danny Robinett was my husband's friend. I never met Danny, but I watched as my husband traced Danny's name on that wall.
I cried. So did he.
A kind lady who was working as a volunteer hugged me and wiped my tears. She said she travels with the memorial, and every time she helps put the wall up or take it down, she cries.
We cry for the friends who never came home. The young men who never saw their babies. The sons whose mothers still mourn, whose fathers hide their tears in the dark nights. The brothers, sons, fathers, who are frozen in our memories, forever young, forever brave, forever at the edges of our thoughts, forever in our hearts.
Tuesday is the fourth of July, the day we celebrate our independence. It is a holiday, and many people will be having picnics, going camping, shooting fireworks. I hope you all have a great day.
But I also hope that you will take a moment to remember those who bought our freedom with their blood, who believed that there are things worth dying for, who await us on that farther shore when the circle is complete again, and there will be no sorrow or crying, only rejoicing.
If you know a veteran, give him--or her--a hug.
And thank God that they made it home.