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LETTER: A veteran reflects on Memorial Day

This is the quiet time. This is not a time for joy, parties and festivities. I do not want to hear about your special sales and deals … this weekend only. It is a time for reflection. A time to honor, to remember, to grieve.

We who remain feel loss, anguish, sorrow, emptiness, guilt. These feelings do not diminish with time. If anything, they overwhelm us at this time of year. All the “carrying on” we do for 51 weeks a year comes crashing down leading up to this day of remembrance.

We can pretend we are strong and put on a good face as we march through life. Beneath the calm exterior, however, the grief is building pressure, looking for a way out. So when we look upon a grave or a memorial or statue of a hero, the floodgates open and it all comes out.

Do not think me weak when I cry at a grave of an unknown warrior. You do not know the effort it takes, the strength it requires, to hold back the tears 364 days a year. I find strength in the fellowship of my brothers in arms, for they have the same feelings, the same memories, the same sorrow. And I will support and love them as they support me.

No, I will not “celebrate” on Memorial Day. This is the quiet time.

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