Monday, May 21, 2007

Memorial Matters

A few months ago, I wrote about the funerals at Arlington National Cemetery for Iraq and Afghanistan war dead. During the first couple of weeks there were about six or eight interments and I found that I just couldn't continue. I still read the stories but there's really nothing more that I can add.

I think I was trying to share a small portion of the families' grief. After all their loved one died in my name. Never mind that I did not ask him or her to take those risks; these soldiers died for the country of which I am a part. Never mind that the leaders who sent them to their deaths are not worthy of that sacrifice. These dead "gave the last full measure of their devotion". I will not fail to recognize and honor that.

Yesterday's Washington Post had a story about these newly interred dead, about their connection to life and their familiies. It's well written. Slate called the article a "heart wrencher". I call it understanding and real, showing how families fill the void left by this most unnatural death. Some are still in shock, others are resigned, all feel their loss deeply and deal with it as they can.

If you want heart wrenching, read Laura Linger's account of her brother's death in Iraq.

All I can say to these families is, "I am so very sorry. I will not forget."

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