Two days of the year, if I can at all possibly get there, I spend at the Saratoga National Cemetery (Also known as the Gerald Solomon National Cemetery) . Veterans Days and Memorial Day. I try to go up a few times in the better weather, since my Dad is there, and several family friends; but those two days, I just feel the need to be there, part of the services in honor of the Warriors of this nation I love. (When in the UK, I try not to miss Remembrance Sunday, either.)
A few years ago, a Union soldier was returned to New York, after over one hundred years in an unmarked grave… I think in Virginia. He had an escort all the way, thanks to the Patriot Guard and other such groups. He is buried near my father now. And far from being forgotten, I think nearly everyone who visits stops by his plot. In my case, it isn’t just for him. His mother/wife/sweetheart never knew anything more than he was gone. They could not mourn at his grave. So I do, for them.
Yes, many of the men and women in those neat white ranks are older… survivors of WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam… but now there are also so many youngsters…Warriors young enough to have been my child. And my heart breaks for their parents, their families and their friends. At the same time, I thank the heavens for these young ones. They put on a uniform, and went out into the world to try to make it a better, safer place for the generations to follow.
I wrote this during the ceremony.
You are Presenting Honors
To warriors who have gone
A tribute to the families
Who have sorrowed long.
And will you young ones now
Stand at attention at the stone
Of a nameless soldier-boy
Who died so far from home?
No family comes to his side
To mourn, for they’re long gone
But the signs are left that others
Won’t let him be alone.
So lad, Present Honors
For a boy in Union Blue
It may not have been on foreign soil
But he died for freedom too.