Last Saturday I had the honor of accompanying members of VFW Post #7857 in replacing weather worn graveside flags. This is an annual task the men quietly do in remembrance of our nation’s fallen, and members of the local community are welcome to join. Thankful for the steady spring rain to hide my tears I could not help but be overcome by the solemnity of what lay before me. Over 600 flags each representing a person, a soldier, who purposely endeavored to represent and defend our beloved America. In times of war and in times of peace. Voluntarily.
Living just north of where Washington crossed the Delaware, history is always at the forefront of my landscape. Tombstones in local cemeteries pre-date our nation’s birth. George Washington is rumored to have quartered his horses in just about every barn along the river. True or not, the fortitude and perseverance of the American soldier is undeniable. From the fatigued, frozen patriots battling Hessian forces in Trenton to today’s troops in the Middle East, our armed forces rise above adversity and are unyielding in their defense of the oppressed.
America publicly honors its fallen sons and daughters on Memorial Day. Flags unfurl & parades march down Main Street. Well deserved pomp & circumstance for those who have paid the ultimate price in preserving and protecting freedom. I love that in towns across the country we remember what it took to get where we are. And as we celebrate this precious cost of freedom let us also remember those who still walk among us. The Korean War vet at the local coffee shop. The Vietnam vet walking his dog in the park. The OEF/OIF amputee readjusting to civilian life. Military families with an empty seat at the dinner table. Behind each of those graveside flags is a story. Learn it, appreciate it and tell it to your children.