I’ll never forget the July 1993 and my second trip to Washington, D.C., when I visited the Vietnam Memorial.
At that time, I’d only heard of it and had no idea what it looked like. All I remember is setting foot on the ramp and seeing this tiny wedge of black granite which, the further down I went, the larger the wedge grew. I also noticed how silent the visitors became the wider and taller the monument became.
All those names–thousands of them. Young lives lost. Families broken. Returning soldiers and maybe even veterans disrespected for doing their duty regardless of whether or not they agreed with their country’s stand on the war. Post-traumatic stress everyone had to live with, even before the syndrome was identified.
Today, though I don’t know those names, but I remember them all. I think of those in active duty, posted God-knows-where in the world, in places we forget about since the media can’t–and won’t–spotlight everyone. We pray for them every night as a family, and after reading a young girl’s article about her father’s death three years ago, we added their families to our prayers as well. (So easy to forget those behind the scenes, isn’t it?) Finally, I count my blessings, grateful that to date, none of mine haven’t been touched by the current conflict. (They’re not necessarily old enough yet, but at the rate things seem to be going, one never knows.)
So to all those who live touched by the military life in any way, past or present, know that me and those closest to me thank and salute you for your service and sacrifice. May the God of your understanding give all of you peace.