As we honor our fallen military members this Memorial Day weekend, our somber mood extends to the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Comparisons to Sandy Hook make me think back to December 14, 2012, and of my mother, who awakened from major surgery to news reports of the mass school shooting. We watched the tragic news unfold on the TV in her hospital room. My mother was more concerned for the children, and for their parents, than she was about her own physical health.
Almost a decade later, more children have died. More families are grieving. More somber anniversaries have been added to our national calendar. One of the most profound ways we could honor the sacrifice our fallen military service members made for America is by working to reduce the amount of mass shootings.
I hope you get to spend time with your loved ones this weekend. After a week such as this, time spent with family becomes even more precious.
With it being Memorial Day, I remember how my family used to visit the
local cemetery in our town. We didn’t know anyone buried there, it was just a quiet place for us to walk and reflect. Dad loved the history of cemeteries, and would look for the oldest graves, or would seek out those who had been casualties of war. He would spin a yarn about how they may have been lost, which battle of World War II or Vietnam they might have met their end in, etc. Of course, we didn’t know the real stories, but as a child, it didn’t matter to me. Dad was well-versed on war history, so he was able to make his stories convincing.
Mom, being the sentimental type, would mourn over the tiniest graves, those belonging to newborns or small children who had probably perished from disease or accident. These would make me sad as well, because it was hard for me to understand someone so young could die.
Every day of my dad’s final hospital stay in Albuquerque, I would pass by a cemetery. I found it morbidly ironic, throwing a fleeting glance over at the weathered stones, thinking that my dad could be joining their ranks at any moment. I never had time to take a stroll through the cemetery, as by day’s end, spending several hours by my father’s bedside while trying to console my mom, I was emotionally spent and just wanted to retreat to my hotel room.
But when I visit most towns, especially one with a deep and rich history, like Savannah, I make a point of visiting the cemetery. It’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but there is something very peaceful and spiritual about visiting a land filled with the dead.