Memorial Day Memories

American Legion Firing Squad members stand at parade rest as rain falls during Memorial Day Ceremony.
American Legion Firing Squad members stand at parade rest as rain falls during Memorial Day Ceremony.

   As rain clouds hung low, I stood surrounded by tombstones in the midst of the Bonnievale Cemetery, among a handful of townspeople Memorial Day, May 30, morning.

By Sherry Vogel

Plevna senior Dylan Sanders, a Life Boy Scout, plays ‘taps’ at graveside Memorial Day Service.
Plevna senior Dylan Sanders, a Life Boy Scout, plays ‘taps’ at graveside Memorial Day Service.

As taps began to ring out across that shadowy landscape, my thoughts went to the many American families grieving the recent loss of a beloved son, husband or father this Memorial Day.

  The men and women being honored were not only the fallen soldiers of a gone by era, but the recent lost military loved ones of families all across America. They are the brave men and women who stepped forward when their country called. They answered the call to travel to foreign soils, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.

   I, too, had sent a son off to war. It was not that long ago. The memory, though buried now in a sign of relief, was surfacing as that familiar melody rang out across the crisp landscape.

  I remembered the long nights when I would awake in the wee hours of the morning and drift to the TV to hear the latest war briefs on CNN. I yearned, yet dreaded, to hear word of my Marine son’s recon unit as they advanced into hostile Iraq. I remember an evening at work when down the long hospital hall a young soldier in full dress uniform was speaking to a fellow worker and she pointed up the hall at me. The young soldier, with dress hat tucked under his arm, solemnly and intently made his way directly toward me. I held my breath as I prepared myself for the worst. My knees felt weak and tears rimmed my eyes. As he approached, I braced myself for the news that every soldier’s mother fears to hear. When he was before me, he opened his mouth to ask directions to his grandmother’s room. He had come to visit her wearing his full dress uniform.

   I was spared that evening. How many times has a similar scene been re-enacted over and over again, but the news was life changing when some soldier’s mother learned the heart wrenching news of her military child’s tragic death?

Small American flags wave in the breeze marking numerous veterans graves at Bonnievale Cemetery.                        Photos by Sherry Vogel
Small American flags wave in the breeze marking numerous veterans graves at Bonnievale Cemetery.  Photos by Sherry Vogel

   How does a mother come to terms with the untimely death of a brave young son or daughter who has marched off gallantly to war?

   As the rain began to fall, many tears were camouflaged that early morning in that cemetery just north of town. However, some pain was eased as townspeople came together to show their respect for the ultimate sacrifice that parents and their sons or daughters have made across our country so everyday Americans can go about Memorial Day celebrations.

      



GAMES