PLEASE: I urge you to view this article over at my blog, where I am able to embed pictures. This is the sort of thing that needs to be both seen and felt.
I drove out to Ferndale today to enjoy the Old Settler's Parade. It is a yearly tradition filled with all sorts of fun games, booths, and lots of tractors. This year was no different. I had casually planned to do a humorous post, filled with notes on creepy mascots (here andhere) and amusing pictures of children enjoying the fun. But my mind turned to more serious thoughts when this group marched by:
They walked in silence, without music or fanfare. Each person carried the image of a fallen soldier who had died in the last two wars.
They marched on, forming a swath as long as a city block. Those who carried the signs were men and women, civilian and those who have served. It was a sobering reminder, that even as we play out our summer, as we grumble about the autumn-like weather, or cross words over which candidate should be mayor or executive, there are our brothers and sisters thousands of miles away paying that final sacrifice. The man standing next to me, a lively old man named Rod with a beard like white cotton candy, offered up a slow steady clap of support that was taken up by the parade watchers, as the wall of white pictures stretch onward.
Rod muttered as the passed, "We should have brought them home years ago." It is true. We have our men and women overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan for what? Certainly not rooting out Osama Bin Laden or finding non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction. I'm glad that Obama is slowly ramping down the Iraq war, but we still are seeing our brothers and sisters return to Dover in caskets. It was a sobering reminder of the cost of war, and the brave Americans who pay that cost for us.