Monday, May 26, 2008

Remember Their Sacrifice

Yesterday I attended a Memorial Day service at our National Cemetery. We were honored to even have a Pearl Harbor survivor with us in attendance. After the ceremonies I walked around taking pictures. It was a beautiful day for it. I used the time for personal reflection while I looked over the cemetery. So many of us see this holiday as nothing more than the beginning of summer. Its the start of the picnic and grilling season. I too often confuse the holiday of Memorial Day with Veterans' Day. But yesterday as I walked around I tried to focus on the differences between the two holidays. On Veterans' Day we celebrate and show thanks for our service men and women. On Memorial Day we honor the sacrifice of those service men and women who lost their lives in service to our country.

I was very moved by this simple grave marker. We think of the tomb of the unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery because of its size, the daily ceremonies and Presidential wreath laying that we see on TV. This little marker reminded me that the Arlington tomb is merely a symbol of all the many unknowns that have lost their lives in service. This soldier will never have a flower or wreath placed on his grave because his family doesn't know where he was laid. No doubt his mother and father knew their son was lost in action but never heard more about him. The could remember him but never visit his grave. This simple flag placed by his marker will be the only tribute he ever receives. It was heartbreaking to see not just this one, but row after row of unknown grave markers. It certainly puts our American freedoms into perspective. To see more of the Memorial Day photos I took yesterday, please visit my Flickr account.

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