Monday, May 31, 2010

Once, about ten or fifteen years ago, I visited Washington D.C. with some friends. We were all X-Files fans and we decided to converge on Mulder and Scully's town to see the XF landmarks—the F.B.I. building, the Watergate parking garage, the Washington Memorial reflecting pool, etc.
We also went to the Vietnam War Memorial.
Until that point, the trip had been all fun and games. But there's no way to visit the memorial and not be overwhelmed by the sense of the sacred. Name after name etched in the shiny wall, a testament to heroism and sacrifice. You can see yourself in the reflection, so you become part of the whole memorial, a living testament to what these men died for.
I didn't lose anyone in the Vietnam War personally. But while I was there, I overhead a conversation between a small group of people standing nearby. One of them was a young man, my age or maybe a little younger. They were there to see a particular name on the wall—the name of the young man's father, who had died when the young man was just a baby. He'd never known his father, but he could visit him, in a way, by coming there to the memorial. I remember, he reached out and touched his father's name, caressed it, really.
While Veteran's Day in America is a day we celebrate our living war heroes, Memorial Day is the day we commemorate our fallen heroes. On this Memorial Day, God rest the souls of the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and welfare of this great nation. We honor you and thank you.

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