This is a photo I grabbed off the internet of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, more commonly known as Punch Bowl Crater. We visited there on a family trip in 2004 following my son’s college graduation and it happened to be Memorial Day….which is also the day he was born. The location of this cemetery is stunning, but what really struck me is that every. single. grave. had an American flag and either a lei or a bouquet of tropical flowers or both. The fragrance from this is impossible to describe. The sight of all those flags on all those graves in a such a stunningly beautiful place is paradoxical.
There is a monument at one end of the crater (picture below). It’s massive and as you get closer to it, you begin to realize that each of those walls leading up the top of the steps is filled – FILLED – with the names of those who died in the Pacific in all conflicts. It’s literally breathtaking, in that it takes your breath away to see so many names. It’s a little like I felt when I saw the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC for the first time, only there were so many more names on this monument. So many more people lost in war.
Memorial Day is all about remembering those who died in service. Those who joined or were drafted and signed on the dotted line to give everything, up to and including their life for this country. The sacrifice goes farther in that the loved ones also serve out a life sentence without them.
As you go through this weekend and celebrate the beginning of summer here in the USA, please take a moment and remember.
Remember the service.
Remember the sacrifice.
Remember the loved ones.
Freedom is not free and I am personally grateful for those who paid the price.