Before you head out to the barbecue, make sure you take a moment to remember those who have died for our country. Yesterday, I read an editorial in the paper by Joe Myers, a 2004 graduate of the U.S. Military who served 2 tours of duty in Iraq. It’s worth sharing . It reads, in part:
I go to Arlington National Cemetery to listen. I hear the crackling of calm voices giving situation reports over the radio. I hear the terrifying explosions and the twisting of metal. I hear the laughter and the Soldier’s wry, irreverent humor. I hear the mother’s inconsolable cry. I can hear it all in Section 60, sometimes referred to these days as “the saddest acre in America.” Cradled within this soil are hundreds of American men and women who died in voluntary service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I stop first at the grave of Staff Sgt. Jonathan K. Dozier. We served together during my second tour in Iraq. He was one of the most respected noncommissioned officers in our squadron. He died in a flash in January 2008, with six others, in a house that was rigged to explode. Before he died, Dozier, 30, wrote to his father, “I am a loyal American soldier. I believe in things larger than myself and making sacrifices for the greater good.”
As I reflect on the lives of these three men, I am not filled with the sadness that is so often associated with Section 60. Sadness is reserved for lives not lived. Each of these men lived, and lived proudly, whether it was for 24, 30 or 76 years. I am reminded of a eulogy that cadets often passed around while I was at West Point. Before he was killed during the Vietnam War, Maj. John A. Hottell III wrote his own obituary and sent his wife a letter that included these points: “I loved the Army. … Thanks to it I have lived an entire lifetime in 26 years. It is only fitting that I should die in its service. … And yet, I deny that I died for anything —not my country, not my Army, not my fellow man, none of these things. I lived for these things.”
Section 60 is not the saddest acre in America. No, to me it is the proudest acre.
You can read the entire editorial on Washington Post’s website. Thank you, Joe Myers, for your service.
Thinking about these brave men and women always makes me realize how fortunate I am. We are free to pursue our dreams. If that isn’t motivating, I don’t know what is.
As the final days of May fly by, I realize I may not make my goal of writing 20K words this month as part of #WriteMotivation. As of this morning, I have 10, 938 words (to be exact.) I could go on and on about all the things that have kept me away from my writing, but that may sound like a complaint. I am so fortunate to have so many other things in my life. They fill the writing well.
Today is a day for family. Tomorrow is a new day.