A day to honor those who have given the greatest sacrifice to others: they fought and died so others could live in freedom. The goal was also peace, but…
As most years for the last twenty, I took Mom and the Kidling, and drove up to the Gerald B.H. Solomon National Cemetery. Dad is buried there, several of the guys from the Rod and Gun Club are there, a few of Mom’s friends from church, and several former neighbors. It is a beautiful place; well-tended, serene, where you might see deer grazing and eagles flying over-head.
This year, as I understand it, we have lost the last WWI veteran. The ranks of WWII survivors are thinning rapidly. This year, a list was read out of 22 active duty members of the US Military who died in the last year. With few exceptions, the names belonged to men and women whom I could have given birth to: under 35 years of age. That is a gut-wrenching thing to think about.
Yet, even while I sat there, listening to speeches and music and poems, honoring those who have paid the ultimate price, I can’t help but face some hard facts:
* There weren’t many blacks or Latinos at the ceremony. I know there are Latinos buried there with honor (some names just can’t hide the ethnics). I would imagine there are blacks there…. there should be. But they have never really been represented at these ceremonies.
* Children were chosen to lead the Pledge. There again, it seemed they were all white children. Children who don’t have to worry about agents pulling them away from their parents and shipping them lords know where.
* The rights the men and women buried here, and in places like it across the country… or in unmarked and forgotten graves elsewhere …. are under attack today, from our OWN government, or at least very vocal members of it who think they can dictate to the rest of us how to feel, think, react, be.
I do not bow my head over clasped hands to pray. I lift my eyes to the heavens, and my hands are not in a position of begging. I am sure it was noticed today, but nothing was said: I am a white woman.
I will continue to honor the fallen, and the veteran. They were able and willing to put themselves at risk for the rest of us, to improve and protect. I will continue to honor the Stars and Stripes, for it is a symbol of my COUNTRY, not the shifting power cells in charge. I will also continue to tell some people to get a clue, before the current mess can’t be fixed at all.