Last weekend, here in the United States, we observed Memorial Day. Memorial Day is the day we set aside to honor those members of our armed services who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Some people use Memorial Day to make pilgrimages to the places where their family members (regardless of their veteran status) rest. They take flowers and decorate the decorate the graves. Interestingly, those visits to cemeteries really can turn into gatherings of long-lost family members – like it did for us a few years ago, when the association that provides for the upkeep of the cemetery was there and we wound up sitting around, talking and reminiscing.
This year, in between breaks in the weather, I made my way to the Mississippi Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Ocean Springs. I’ve driven by the site more times than I care to think about, but I never stopped. The visitor’s center wasn’t open, which I thought was a little odd given that it was Memorial Day.
I’ve been to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC, and it is powerful and overwhelming simply because of the scale. There is something about being able to put a face with a name that makes the Mississippi Vietnam Memorial very, movingly poignant.
One of the things that struck me while I was looking at the names and matching them to the photos, was how absolutely young most of the soldiers were. So many young men who were just kids really.
Left scattered along the memorial were pages that had been colored by children – little reminders of how we have come to now honor those particular veterans who were not greeted as returning heroes all those years ago.
As I was leaving, two gentlemen who were probably in their 60s arrived at the Memorial separately. I continued to shoot, and I could hear them begin to talk – sharing their stories. One of them had been in the Merchant Marine; the other had served in the Army. Before it started to rain, and I rushed to the car to protect my camera, I heard one say to the other, “I hate to rush past them. They each meant something. Every one of them mattered.” When I glanced back, they were both standing at the wall, hands touching photos.
I’m grateful and thankful for those who have served. I ache for the families who lost their sons in a conflict that was bitterly divisive. I’m humbled by the depth of sacrifice that some have made. “Home of the Free because of the Brave.” And for those who never came home – who remain lost but never forgotten – for those families who do not know where their loved ones are, what the end of their stories were, I cannot imagine.
Thank you for your service, Sirs, and may you rest well – it is earned and well-deserved.
Where I’m linking up today.
Photo Friday Link-Up
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Photo Friday link-up! I love how we are getting new participants each week, and I love how y’all support each other. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that many of our participants host their own link-ups, and I find them by poking around those sites because I like what I see through their linked post. Make sure you check them out and throw them some support if you get a chance.
Last week’s most viewed link came from Sue at Image-in-ing. Sue also hosts a Wordless Wednesday link-up, so if you’ve got a post – go share with her as well!
Our last added link from a week ago came from The Early Birder. Please go check out the puffins! Squee at how incredibly cute they are. It’s a happy thing for your Friday morning!
You’ll want to make sure you drop back by during the week because some gorgeous photos get shared. I can’t wait to see what y’all have for us this week!