Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Words cannot begin to convey the overwhelming sense of loss ... the sheer number of all the crosses, many inscribed only with the words "Here Lies a Fallen Comrade in Arms Known Only to God"

Overlooking Omaha Beach, the launching point of the U.S. invasion of Normandy, this cemetery contains the graves of 9,386 American soldiers who died at Normandy and a touching memorial to another 1,557 whose bodies were never recovered.

I walked through these hallowed grounds one October afternoon in 2002 ... I was overcome with emotions, I read the names of men ... many only boys from every state in America, lying now in The American Cemetery at Normandy, France. I was startled to see a group of French high school students walking through the graves. Their teacher politely explained that all French students were required to come to the American Cemetery ... they must remember how so many from America died on a foreign soil to give them freedom. I wish our American students could view this sacred place ... or walk among the graves in Arlington ... or any National cemetery for that matter. You will never be the same ... Thank you to all the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice so that we may be free.

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the VETERAN, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the VETERAN, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.



Tatersmama said...

Oh, what a wonderful tribute! Someday... when I get back home again, I'm going to go to Golden Gate National Cemetery, so that I can say "thank you" in person.

Bz said...

Though I have read before the words: "It is a Veteran that gave ..., not....".
So true and couldn't have been said better.
I hope to someday go to Arlington to pay my respects.

Robynn's Ravings said...

So nice to *see* you, Sandy, and this was such a fitting tribute. I had never heard the "It is a Veteran..." prose but it sure tells the story, doesn't it? Hope you're doing well.