Memorial Day: Remembering Our Youngest Soldiers

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This Memorial Day I am remembering individuals of both genders who were sent off on a mission – to fight this fight –  for a better world. Many of them were not armed with the proper defenses. Too many died without the ability to say goodbye to love ones.

They were young, some under the age of 5, with barely an idea of how cruel the world can be.

Until this sentence I imagine that you assumed I was speaking of our nation’s fallen soldiers. As a granddaughter, daughter and wife of a veteran I want to honor them today, and understand this day is set aside for them.

However when I think of who we need to memorialize at this time in our nation’s history  I think of the children who have died in their pursuit of an education.

Where is the day set aside for them?

The answer is that it should be every day until the deaths stop.

I saw pictures on social media this weekend of children holding signs that said #ifIdieinaschoolshooting. The image stopped ME dead in my tracks. It will go down as one of the most powerful things I have seen on social media in recent years. I am not brave enough to ask my daughters to hold such a sign. I am not strong enough to even think about that as it specifically relates to them.

I am burdened daily by the fact I am sending my children to school, to unknown and unrecognized dangers. I am sending them there while our lawmakers run circles around each other with thoughts and prayers and no action. I am sending them with only the protection of locked doors, while the NRA holds their convention with metal detectors and armed guards at the entrance.

So today I remember our soldiers of past wars and the children who are simply trying to grow up. They’re not unrelated. Our military veterans fought for their ability to grow up in a free country. They fought wars on foreign soil to keep us safe here.  That mantra is one of the rungs we hang our flag on in this country.

What would our veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam war and Desert Storm say if they knew we were allowing our children to die when solutions laid at our feet, and the only thing standing in the way of safety was a gun lobby and politicians too afraid to upset their constituents.

 

I found this poem written by Eleonor Roosevelt. Her words reverberated through me after I read it this weekend.

 

Lest I continue

My complacent way,

Help me to remember that somewhere,

Somehow out there

A man died for me today.

As long as there be war,

I then must

Ask and answer

Am I worth dying for?

 




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