what we lose on battlefields

I could be getting the story wrong, but my dad once told me that his great-grandfather was mortally wounded in the Civil War. Not in a famous battle, but in some unremarkable episode of fight and fatality that took place in what is now suburbia in metro Atlanta.

The wound in his leg was deemed fatal. But when he did not die from it, he instead half-limped, half-walked the many miles back to his home, where he ultimately fathered my great-grandmother, which led to my grandfather, which led to my father, which led to me.

 

So on Memorial Day, am I grateful to those who have served our country? I am. To those who have pledged to give all they have and at many unfortunate moments, had to cash in on that pledge? Yes, I am forever grateful.

 

But I can’t help but think of all the lives lost. Not just the lives of our soldiers. But the lives of their unborn sons and grandsons and great grandsons. All those little beings that never came to be. All those lives destroyed before they could even begin.

 

When we lose our brothers and sisters to war, there is so much more we also lose. An eternal loss of people and dreams and hopes and destinies that will never be realized.

 

This Memorial Day, all I can do is give thanks to those who serve. Mourn the ones we lost. Grieve the lives that will never even begin. And pray, above all else, that there is such a thing as peace and we may find it still.

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