Time unfolds around me in a swirl of memories as I sit here in today with a vision of tomorrow. I sit in the middle room of our little farmhouse in Southeast Ohio. My wife is here and my two children, the sun shines in the meadow in front of the old house and it could not get much better than this. As an American, I enjoy this relative perfection as a result of the many who have fought and died so that my family and I could be here to enjoy this day. As I have said many time before, It was not my path to serve in this honorable way. With that in mind, I have learned so much in the seventy some years I have been on this planet and I am not the man I was when I was in my twenties. My father and his two brothers served in WW II. Uncle Tarmo died in the service in 1945. I never met him. I inherited his flag from my Grandmother Ida and it rests here in the farmhouse in a mahogany case. She just kept it in an old trunk. Uncle Pentti died in 1972… still a young man in his fifties. He passed in a VA hospital in California. He never talked about the war, but it was always with him. My Dad landed in Japan in 1945 and wandered through the ashes of the country translating documents of interest. They are all gone now… and so many more.
And I truly believe that I and my family and friends are here because of them and all the others who served through the years. As time passes, the gardens of stone grow at an alarming rate and we must honor them, not just on this day, but every day.
And so with a vision of the guards at the Tomb Of The Unknowns at National Cemetery I will hold onto these thoughts. When my Dad was in the service in WW II, my mother took me here many times. It meant a lot to me then, and does now.
Let us not forget!