Punchbowl National Cemetery, Memorial Day 2008
The Battle of Lovell's Pond
Cold, cold is the north wind and rude is the blast
That sweeps like a hurricane loudly and fast,
As it moans through the tall waving pines lone and drear,
Sighs a requiem sad o'er the warrior's bier.
The war-whoop is still, and the savage's yell
Has sunk into silence along the wild dell;
The din of the battle, the tumult, is o'er,
And the war-clarion's voice is now heard no more.
The warriors that fought for their country, and bled,
Have sunk to their rest; the damp earth is their bed;
No stone tells the place where their ashes repose,
Nor points out the spot from the graves of their foes.
They died in their glory, surrounded by fame,
And Victory's loud trump their death did proclaim;
They are dead; but they live in each Patriot's breast,
And their names are engraven on honor's bright crest.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Memorial Day is coming up soon. And I will remember.
I will remember our time in Alaska with Chuck. Sitting in the stands with his wife - pregnant with their second child - a daughter - watching him play softball while we fought off the mosquitoes. I will remember the BBQs and holiday parties where we ooh'd and ahh'd at his baby girl and how "grown up" his son was becoming. And how sweet he and his wife were together. And I will remember sitting at breakfast the morning the helicopter went down and reading the news on the ticker at the bottom of the screen. I will remember thinking, "that was someone we knew" and then putting that out of my mind. I will remember getting a phone call from a mutual friend, telling us that it was Chuck's bird that went down.
I will remember reading the guest post that Maggie had up last year and thinking what an incredible piece it was. I will remember going back and reading it again after Tuc died and having it really hit home.
I will remember going to dinner with Mindi. A girls' night out in the middle of a deployment. Something to take our minds off of the daily grind and worries that go along with military life and deployments. I will remember congratulating her on her anniversary. Twelve years. Two kids. Spending anniversaries apart is nothing new to military couples. It's just a date and can be celebrated when he gets back.
I will remember standing in line at the Lantern Floating Ceremony, getting ready to pay my respects to those friends we had already lost. I will remember the phone call that came, telling us that there was yet another name to add to the list. I'll remember that what was a dull ache suddenly became a fresh wound standing there in line. And I will remember thinking how that shock and sorrow could not compare to that which was being felt by his family and friends right then. Or ever.
It is an easy thing - to remember. They are so hard to forget.