it's the journey

it's the journey

Monday, May 28, 2012

To Those Who Sit Upon the Walls

Having grown up in the South, the weekend before Memorial Day, or Decoration Sunday, as we called it, was the time our family made its annual pilgrimage back to the little country church my dad attended as a boy.  It usually marked the end of the school year as well and I couldn’t wait to meet up with my Alabama cousins.  We spent endless hours roaming the red dirt countryside talking, laughing, swimming and mostly sweltering in the Alabama heat.  There was All-Day Singing at the Burnwell Bible Church of God and afterward, the entire community  turned out for dinner on the ground.  We’d spread our quilts, break out the lawn chairs and sample some of the finest cooking south of the Mason Dixon line.  All of this took place right next to the cemetery, which was freshly manicured and bursting with colorful wreaths and floral arrangements lovingly placed in honor of those who had gone on before.  Late in the afternoon, we’d gather to share a quiet moment around the headstones marked with Goodman and reminisce about our loved ones. It was a time I looked forward to for months, a family reunion of sorts. I was just a girl then, and knew very little of loss.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve become acquainted with grief and loss, but I still can’t begin to fathom burying a son or daughter who has paid the ultimate price in defense of our nation. It takes an individual of exceptional courage to place themselves in harm’s way for another, day after day.  Today we remember them, we honor them and we say thank you.  And to those left behind-- the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, spouses and children whose lives have been irreparably shattered, we remember you as well.  
Today our hearts are filled with sadness, and a swell of pride for our fallen heroes.  We honor you all across America, from rural cemeteries with dinners on the ground, to the rolling hills of Arlington and every resting place in between.  
And thank you to those who still sit upon the walls, who defend them with their very lives so we may rise and sleep under the blanket of freedom you provide us. ++  
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.     John 15:13
++ paraphrase from, “A Few Good Men,” screenplay by Aaron Sorkin


  1. You have such a great pen Tanya...I pray you write more!
    Reba R McGuire

    1. Thanks Reba, that's so kind of you. I think the hardest part for me is, like Anne LaMott says, "keeping my tail in the chair!" It's definitely a discipline.

  2. Beautiful Tanya!! Great memory!!

  3. Perspective and paradigm shifts. Love the journey you speak of as you've grown older.
    --Sam Mayercik

    1. Thanks Sam, jeepers, sounds like you need to be writing yourself!


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