Up at the court house is a monument to our veterans. I’ve walked past it a hundred times. I bet most people never think much about what it means, what it represents.
There’s four tall slabs of granite, another slab sits on top, connecting the first four. Brave words on one side, heartbreaking names on the other side.
Brave, courageous men are listed on our monument. They are Lincoln County’s contribution. They died fighting for our country. Today is Memorial Day.
We can’t forget.
Today, a few men and women will gather on the east side of the granite. Someone will place a couple of red, white and blue wreaths. An American flag will be there.
The women and some of the men will cry.
The wreaths stay there a few days.
Someone will come by, pick them up and haul them away. The artificial flowers stay until they fade in the sunlight.
Engraved red bricks surround the monument’s base. I didn’t count, but today, there’s maybe two hundred bricks. Maybe more.
Last week I stopped and looked at the bricks. I had never paid attention before. The bricks show names of people who served, who offered to die for our country if need be.
I took a few minutes. It was near noon and the sun was harsh.
I read each name cut in the gray granite and the names in the red bricks.
There was a high school teacher on one side. Then another, a few bricks away. I thought about my high school history teacher. He landed at Normandy on June 6, 1944. He’s still alive. May God bless him.
I thought about my science teacher. He commanded submarines in the war and lost a brother in Europe.
There’s a Marine Corps Lance Corporal’s name. He was in Vietnam. He died while I was in high school. He was a sniper. His name is on the monument also.
Another died in 1970. I knew him. He was in the Army. His name is also there, cut in stone.
Then another Marine’s name. His brother coached baseball when my son was playing Little League. I didn’t know.
I saw names of men I knew growing up. They are gone now, but they owned businesses, worked 9 to 5, raised the kids I played with. Fathered the girls I dated.
Their children want us to remember.
More than a dozen or so were from the Vietnam war. On one side, where they put the new bricks, were a half dozen names who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Each man and woman who fell while fighting for our country is a hero.
I can’t forget. I won’t forget. I thank you for your service.
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