That’s how I felt the other day; it was very emotional.
I was just leaving school (yes, I’m one of those dorky teachers who goes into school over the summer to work), and I saw this field of flags . . . hundreds of flags flowing softly in the summer breeze. I just knew I had to stop for a closer look. . .
It was such a somber sight . . .
This “Field of Flags” is a traveling memorial for every American who died in the line of service in Iraq and Afghanitan. Each flag represents a person’s ultimate sacrifice—there were 5,061 of them!
An accompanying board listed each person, his/her hometown, branch of service, and date of death.
The sad thing, this memorial is growing. There were 5,061 casualties as of July 15. It reminded me of another time, during the Vietnam War, when each night on the evening news, we heard the death count. . . each and every day.
I lingered for a bit, offering a silent prayer for each of these brave souls and for their families and friends, who must live without them. I felt like my heart was in my throat. . . and then I realized that someone behind me was probably sharing the same kind of thoughts. A former Marine was cruising by on his motorcycle and noticed the flag display, too. He stopped to give his condolences and to sign the guest book, as I did. He was wearing a vest with various Marine regalia on it. I found myself thanking him for his service to our country and offering to take his photo with the flags. He was very appreciative of the gesture and said his family in Ohio, where he was from, would enjoy that photo.
At that point, I just felt so reflective and grateful for these soldiers, but at the same time, I also felt grateful that I wasn’t a mother to one of them. . . and I felt a bit guilty for that, too. A a parent, this has to be the ultimate loss . . . the los of one’s child, no matter how noble the circumstances . . .