The Honored Dead

Bald eagle on a gravestone at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minnesota

Memorial Day for me has always had personal significance – I am named after my uncle Jack, who died as a very young man along with 55,000 others at the Battle of Monte Cassino. There is no more tragic reality than the fact that decades of life, the possibility of love and children and making a contribution to society can all disintegrate in the explosive flash of a hidden landmine.

I have already had twice the lifetime he did. I have a wife I love and four healthy children, something he never experienced. I have wealth and opportunity he probably only dreamed of for the short time he was alive. I know the conclusion of the war he only saw the beginning of.

Though brief and inglorious, his sacrifice made the life I have possible – like one stone in thousands forming an archway I have passed through to the blessings I have enjoyed.

Such sacrifices are certainly worth a day of remembrance.

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