November 11, 2006

Rememberance Day

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

(John McRae)

I’m lucky; my life hasn’t been touched by war in any way. Childhood in the Czech Republic and numerous statues, monuments to fallen war heroes, and other icons on the military theme – reminders of a turbulent political history, are largely forgotten. I never knew my grandfather who spent years in concentration camps. My parents and mother-in-law, remembering the war and hardships I can’t even fathom, have grim stories to tell but no one I know has died in a war, or lost someone they loved to war. I have one friend in the military; he’s safe at home now.

Yet today I took a walk through the cemetary and looked for the markers of the soldiers. I thought about “In Flanders Fields” and the man who wrote it and about his despair. And I thought about the others, so many others, who died, and are still dying today, to keep us, and this world, protected. I, who have a hard enough time going to my safe little office job every day, thought about the men, and women now too, who go to jobs they’re not sure they'll come home from. What incredible courage that must take. And what loneliness they must sometimes feel to be so far from home and those who love them.

So in the graveyard today, leaves spinning and falling all around me, I did my best to remember those who fought and still do. And I do my best to hope for a future with fewer and fewer dead soldiers for us to remember.

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