November 11, 2004


Today is Veteran's Day, the day we remember those who have fought and those who have fallen for our freedom, and the freedom of others. I thought I would share an appropriate passage from a story I wrote many, many years ago.

The monuments in Washington all seemed false in the cool morning mist. They were big and white and extravagant, yet the tourists cheapened them somehow as they gawked, took photos, and scurried to the next place on their list of things to see. Their attention seemed to fous on what things were rather than why they were. The scene was a poor example of Americana. Even Honest Abe seemed to frown from his throne. Of all the walls of stone only one seemed real.

This wall's long black marble slices into the ground. On it are engraved fifty-eight thousand American names from an undeclared war that no one wants to remember in the jungles of a country half a globe away. There are no ornate scrolls or stenciled directions, no fancy faded pieces of parchment, no self-serving sentiments, just names.

There's also a statue some distance away. Three bronze soldiers stare into the wall, waiting for word of their fellow soldiers, or perhaps morning their loss. The soldiers don't talk; they simply stare. They are all just boys, most of them only six years older than I was then: nineteen.

Under the statue-soldier's gaze, an elderly man lagged behind a tour at the wall. He caressed it and knelt to leave a single rose at its based. He sobbed. He had difficulty standing up. A nearby park attendant helped him and asked, "One of your sir?" The old man shook his head and replied, "Not just one of them. All of them."

God bless those who serve.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 11, 2004 08:07 AM