Not forgotten

  • Published
  • By Family Advocacy staff
  • 52nd Medical Operations Squadron
It had none of the glamour, and many people I talked to didn't even know it existed.

I didn't know either if I hadn't been detoured by a road closed from the storm. It was back in a forgotten corner, the driveway slightly overgrown from the fall rain.

But I stopped my car and got out. The cemetery was well-tended but still a bit forlorn and forgotten.

As I read the names engraved almost 100 years ago I wondered, with a tear, who still mourns for you, staff sergeant? Does anyone remember you, captain?

I walked in silence reading the names out loud, saying thank you to each one I read. I didn't know them, their families or even their deeds, but I knew I owed them just the same. In the back corner, there were fresh flowers that someone had brought. The stone read "MSG Delilah S." Someone had remembered her for Veterans Day. The storm had blown over the flowers, so I righted them. The least I could do in tribute to someone else's sacrifice. They were the only flowers there.

As I walked again silently thanking the men and women from long ago, I met a widow. She came every Veterans Day to say, "I love you" to the man she lost more than ten years ago. Her tears were not silent as we talked about his service. He had a simple job and didn't die in a blaze of glory. His service may have gone unnoticed if not for his death. Our words were brief as she slowly walked away. Her love still as real as his service and sacrifice to our country was.

I never knew my father, but I knew of his love for me and for our country. A Purple Heart and Bronze Star were emblematic of what he was all about. Even after his uniformed service, he possibly gave his life working on defense projects. For our country, for our family. As I walked through the cemetery, I said thank you to him, too, for his service. He inspired a love in our family that will never die. All I know about love is what I learned from my mom's love for him. It's that same love that I carry with each of my silent steps, prayers and thanks.

Their names may not be on my lips any more, but I still mourn for them. Their gifts to us are what allow us to be who we are today. My simple thanks that day may not have been worthy, but it was all I could offer. I will not forget my trip to the cemetery or their service. For their sacrifice helped you, and me, to be free.