Of course, it's more than that.
Today, I'm thinking of a man I never met. I became aware of him when I was about eight years old.
I remember asking my mother why her youngest sister - certainly the most beautiful of all the DeMaria girls - had never married.
She told me Aunt Jenny's fiance had died in The War. I went back to whatever I was doing (making mudpies...tormenting my sister..)and didn't think much about it until I was a bit older and bothered to ask a few questions.
Jenny DeMaria and Henry Marino grew up on Adelphi Street in Brooklyn. In the same way everyone in the working-class Italian community seemed to know that my father and mother would marry everyone knew that Henry and Jenny were destined to be together. Except they weren't. As a teen my cousins and I thought it terribly romantic that our aunt was still pining for her lost love. She never married. In my twenties, I thought it neurotic.
Now it makes me think of all the friends and family members forever changed by the casualties of war. All wars. All nations.
Rest in Peace
Cpl. Henry J. Marino
KIA, Battle of Iwo Jima
Gone but never forgotten.
This is a beautiful reading of one of the most famous poems of World War 1, In Flanders Fields. It always reminds me of how much some of us have given.
HANK: Thanks, RO. I can't hear that without crying.
My mother used to talk about the gold stars that appeared on her high school walls one by one, day after day...indicating another classmate had been killed in World War II.
LUCY BURDETTE: Hats off to all the folks who lost their lives trying to protect what they loved. I have never seen anything so sad as the cemeteries in Normandy. I know that war changed my father permanently...he kept in touch with his WWII buddies right up until the last months of his life.
HALLIE EPHRON: We take so much for granted, like the people who put their lives on the line every day for the rest of us. We have many friends who served in the Vietnam War. Fortunately they all came back; all of them were changed.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm all for picnics and flag flying, but it doesn't seem to have much to do with honoring those fallen in war. In the UK and Commonwealth countries, they celebrate Remembrance Day on November 11th, the official date of the end of WWI. Poppies are worn by young and old for weeks in advance, and poppy wreaths are placed on all the war memorials. On that day, there is a two minute silence at eleven o'clock. It's very moving, and makes the loss seem very real.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I wrote the story of 1st Lt. Melvin Spencer for Memorial Day two years ago. It started like this:
"You see them in long-range photos on the evening news and old black-and white pictures in books about Vietnam. They are iconic; the woman in a black dress, her heels sinking into the dirt that always seems softer around anew grave. The man in front of her is wearing a uniform so starched and polished you feel you could cut your fingers on the crease of his trousers, or be blinded by the sun off his brass. He is handing her an American flag, tightly folded so that only the blue star-spangled field shows. The other details vary: there may be a trumpeter, or a rifle volley. There may be four planes overhead, one arching away, lost in the sky. There may be motorcycle-riding angels and protestors. But there is always, always the uniformed man. And the woman. And the flag.
Mine is on an old chest of drawers in my bedroom."
I'll leave the rest at Command Posts. http://www.commandposts.com/2011/04/the-flag-and-the-families/