My eyes are drying just now after reading this article. It was written by a man named Peter Collier in the WSJ in 2007; it is both awesome and timely for today. Nothing I write can even come close.
It is true that we have another day for living veterans; this day is meant for those who are gone. Nevertheless, while Mr. Collier’s moving words reference men who are often dead, and almost all forgotten, I write to the men and women who are alive now. Some of you have served, some are active, some are wives or teenagers whose husbands/fathers disappear for weeks or months. All of you experience the same thing: the stress of potential doom. You are not dead now, but as military who have sworn to defend, even at life’s expense, you have taken the first step. For the retired veterans, it is the sometimes horrible memories (PTSD?) and the thought that active sons or buddies you still have out there could die. For others it is the thought, pushed back in your mind, that the war in some far off place could become your war in just days (or even hours). This haunting, this real darkness on the horizon, takes its own toll.
For all of you, we honor you on this day… and give thanks. You protect us, you protect our neighbors –all of us undeserving — from that same stress. We know doom could be out there. We remember today that you stand ready to face it on our behalf.
We need Memorial Day.
We must never stop remembering.