Never Forgotten

They starred back at me from the face of the stone cold black granite. Names, so many names. I closed my eyes to trace letters, one by one, with a trembling hand; letters etched deep, forming names; letters etched in memorial. Among the thousands there were six; six names, six faces scrolling through my mind like a photo album long forgotten. A dagger pricked my heart. They were dead; I was alive; war is hell.
It was 1985 and the traveling Vietnam War Memorial had made its way to Worley, Idaho. I was a veteran who never had to face the horror of war, but I wanted to be there—no, I needed to be there—so Karen and I made the short trip from Spokane, Washington on a lazy Sunday afternoon. For the first time in my life, as I read their names, I understood the true cost of freedom. It was six guys amongst the list of thousands represented on those slabs of granite, all having paid the ultimate price for my freedom . . . and yours. I knew those guys; we graduated high school together.
It has been forty years since Vietnam, and the killing fields are still strewn with those willing to buy our freedom with their lives. So on this Memorial Day weekend, with great humility, I will honor all our fallen heroes, past and present, and I will salute all of the men and women who today stand in harm’s way for the cause of freedom. I trust you will do the same.
God Bless America.