Today as I drove past the town common where earlier The American Legion held its observance of Memorial Day at my end of town, I was glancing at the wreaths placed in front of the stone markers and began to think about how completely devastating it must be to lose a son or daughter to war. I cannot begin to think what it must be like to say goodbye to a son or daughter as they leave home, not knowing if they will return in one piece or if they will return alive. That alone must be grueling emotionally.
Whether or not we agree with that war is somewhat beside the point here. I was thinking along the lines of respect and admiration for those who do believe, have the courage to 'join up' and then go off to fight a war in a foreign land, with, well, strangers.
These simple thoughts became more complex as I mulled over this question:
If a son or daughter is lost to war, does the parent who believes in the war have an easier time of it than the parent who does not? Does the parent who believes in God have an easier time of it than the parent who does not?
Or does the parent who believes in the war feel guilt at their loss while the parent who does not believe in the war feels no guilt at all?
I'll qualify the above with I don't think anyone has an easy time of it. Period. I just cannot fathom nor imagine how a parent (sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandparent) could feel upon receiving news of a loss so great.
And going back to simple, I guess that is why Memorial Day is observed with marches and wreath laying and twenty-one gun salutes. It's the least that we can do to remember and thank those men and women who lost their lives while fighting in wars that another man created.
Forget me nots planted in memory of my father who served in WWII.