I always think of my husband's namesake on Memorial Day. You see, his uncle was killed in Vietnam two weeks before he was born (I can't even begin to imagine what it must have felt like for my father-in-law to be grieving his best friend at the same time he was naming his first born after him). That uncle was named after his uncle (i.e. my husband's great uncle) who was killed in WWII.
So, as I tell my husband, I'm very glad he broke the tradition of men with that name being killed in battle. Neither of his namesakes were married - they were both so young when their lives were taken. As I leave the age when my life (or more likely, my husband's life) would be put at risk during battle and I enter the age when my children's lives would be at risk - I have to say that I grieve even more on this day. It's only at this time in my life when I can really begin to understand what it must have felt like for the mothers who saw their sons graduate from high school and go right into battle. I'm quite sure that I would simply scream for days on end if my own son was taken from me in that way.
I am truly grateful to all the veterans who paved the way for us to live safely. My own cousin made it back safely from Iraq and I consider it a minor miracle that he's back home - since his job was taking apart roadside bombs. He's now happily married to a medic he met over there and they are expecting their first baby. I know we're so lucky and I know that we live in an imperfect world which causes death and destruction. We have to have the military. I absolutely understand that. I'm going to keep doing my teeny tiny little efforts to bring peace - even if all I can do on any given day is give a dollar to a homeless veteran...and I'm also going to hope that someday we stop killing each other abroad and in our own backyards.