Sunday, August 12, 2007

A bit more present

I almost missed you yesterday. You weren’t where I thought you’d be. I got worried when I couldn’t find you initially. I was on the other side of the field, an older side. Older ground. Older stone. Older men.

I should have known to look for you in greener fields. The parched earth and scraggly patches of crab grass gave way to carefully manicured grounds. Freshly planted grass. Newly upturned dirt.

It didn’t look the same as it did when I saw you last. Yesterday was bright, sunny, and warm. I wiped sweat from my forehead as I walked along the rows of your brothers, and remembered that cold, rainy, October day.

The tourist will come to see the changing of the guard, the eternal flame, the resting places of historical figures and brave men from previous generations. They will marvel at how historical it all feels. I do hope that they will take the time to walk to greener fields. Where mothers hug headstones that were not there a year ago. Where markers list dates like July 31, 2007. Where it all seems a little less historical…and a bit more present.

6 comments:

Lisa said...

So young. I'm sorry.

Pele said...

Condolences. My brother was over there too.

Trisha said...

My best friend spent a year there. She came back. I'm one of the lucky ones, but I remember the times when it was close to being her name on a stone, and know I'll never forget those times. Sometimes it's interesting just to think how this is shaping our generation the way Vietnam, Korea, World War II and World War I have in the past...

Genevieve said...

You know, you're a good writer. Have you ever published anything?

With that said, I'm sorry man. That's gotta be tough. I can't even relate and I'm not even sure what else to say except my heart aches for you.

Across The River said...

all: Unfortunately knowing someone who died over there is becoming a more common experience, much like previous wars were to older generations. When I told my boss about this he mentioned that he had several friends "on the wall."

gen: Thank you, that's very nice of you to say, and the answer is sort-off. I seem to be in the business of ghost-writing.

ADW said...

I am not overly emotional, but I am always touched by a soldier's death. So it is with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat that I pass along my sincere and heartfelt condolences to you for your loss.