Memorial Day: Cross and Grave Connect American Generations
Memorial Day is a time for families and churches and synagogues across America to remember friends and relatives who have fallen on distant battlefields. Most of us can still think of uncles and grandfathers who fought in World War I, but memories are fading as fewer people are alive who lived back then.
The veterans of World War II are still telling their stories and educating the young. We all know some of them, and the mothers who led children in prayer and kept orderly homes while the men were in combat. No, all the “good” women didn’t work in factories or enlist to get support jobs, though some did.
This was the last generation in which sons, fathers, and brothers who died overseas stayed with their units in hallowed cemeteries, never to return home. Future generations honor them by remembering–and by visiting them in person. The least and best that can still be done.
Those who lost their lives in Korea and Vietnam would probably be grandfathers today. Remaining veterans still remember friends whose lives were ended during these wars.
We can only surmise what their contributions might have been. After all, those who died in Vietnam were denied the opportunity to influence directly the society that followed. Not true of the flag burners and draft dodgers who played it safe.
American families can still plan vacations to the United States military cemeteries scattered throughout Europe, and in Tunisia for the African campaign, and in Manila for the Pacific invasions. They are extensive well-manicured gardens today, with history lessons at every turn.
Better yet, visitors will find the graves marked by Christian crosses and Jewish Stars of David. You’ll find uncles, grandfathers, and brothers there, or neighbors who once lived down the street. The Americans who rest there will always remain united under God, the one known to us in the Old and New Testaments.