Memorial Day

Who do you remember? Which war? Which peace action? For me, It’s Vietnam. I can still remember reading the posthumous letters, delayed until after death. I can still remember holding sobbing friends. I can still remember dreaming of peace.
Is it worse today than it was back then? Or during Korea or World War II or World War I? I don’t know. I just don’t know. Loss, grief, pain – they are still the same.

I’m an amateur genealogist. Because I’m bilingual (English/Italian), I’ve been volunteering my time indexing Italian birth and death records. So many children died so young that we index of an age of zero. But I bet those children weren’t zero in their families. Loss, grief, pain – they are still the same.

I’ve done quite a few records from World war I. Young men died in so many ways – bullets, bombs, shrapnel, infection, gangrene, dysentery, gas. Perhaps we can pat ourselves on the back and say, “Well, no one dies of dysentery or gangrene or gas in today’s war.” Perhaps. But Loss, grief, pain – they are still the same.

Take time during your much earned holiday time to think about today as well as about yesterday. Is war any better? Loss, grief, pain – they are still the same.

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Mary Lou Bernardo, PhD, MSN

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