Memorial Day

Anchor recovered from the USS Arizona at Pearl HarborIt’s about to be Memorial Day again. Remembering time. Truth is, what we have to remember is more than we can handle. People die, in a war, and that’s already too much to grasp. But there are other casualties. Hundreds of them, for every soldier, on both sides. These casualties seem small, and they sometimes fly past so quickly that there’s no time to name them. But the empty places left by these small deaths remain, and there will be years and years to feel the loss, after it’s too late to prevent it. War wears out your body and your spirit. It damages the earth. It presses on your ability to make your life meaningful, or to find peace in the meaning that you make. War is hell. But it also witnesses the purest forms of human love, the fiercest courage. It gives birth to people who die for each other with no thought or pause to determine whether the chosen one is worthy. Soldiering makes you that oddly gifted thing, a person whose love and pain are welded together forever. It separates you from the rest, makes you tough and cynical, but patient, even gentle. Like all worn-out things, you are wise.