I stood in the rain this morning and listened to the minister outshout Herefords and Angus cows across the fence. Apparently some calves had wandered off, the moms lowing and the calves replying.
It’s natural on Memorial Day to remember back, and as the dripping flag fluttered I recalled the first military cemetery I visited almost fifty years ago.
In 1966 I was a kid fresh off the farm in northern Minnesota on a few days of R&R in the Philippines. I spent an afternoon at the Manila American Cemetery. I recall how shocked I was to see more than 17,000 white crosses set in perfect symmetry; astonished at the more than 36,000 missing in action (MIA) names chiseled into marble walls. http://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/pacific/manila-american-cemetery#.VWPFD03bKUk
As manure smell wafted across the graves of our little cemetery, I thought about a memorial service I attended two years later in Vietnam on the shore of the South China Sea. Those boys had been sent home to cemeteries like the one I was standing in this morning.
As taps echoed through lilac blossoms and budding oak leaves I studied the graves for a moment. I think our family plot is pretty representative of sacrifices made for our freedom. My grandfather who served in WWI and WWII. My stepfather, who served in WWII. My brother, who died when his Navy plane crashed at sea off the coast of Africa while on a training flight. One day another flag will wave in the breeze when I join them.