|Site of the Battle of Petersburg, Civil War, now just another field|
There is sanctity of places and events that we tend to ignore. There is no sign, or sound effects. No actual fireworks announce the conception of a baby. No arrow pointing to a place that says, “I almost got hit by a car, right here!” No, unless there is a brass plaque that has been dedicated by a ceremony, we seldom know that anything momentous ever happened right there.
I have been to many cemeteries, maybe too many. Growing up in my community, the cemetery was frequently visited for a variety of reasons, not just to ‘plant a body’. No, we went there to honor someone there, who was loved and cared for long after they died.
Died. What a harsh word. When my mother died in April, I came back to my home in California. A man at church asked me how my mother was. I had just returned the day before. I looked him in the eye, and said, “Oh, she died the day we got there.” He winced. I saw it: a wince.
Do we all wince at the word? It is much kinder to say, “passed away”, or “gone”, maybe “left us”. But that is silly in my thinking. She died.
We were in Washington, DC, not too long ago. We are history nuts, not buffs; “nuts” is the truth. We stood in various places, and said “Over there, they built up a dirt berm to keep the British back” or “Here is where Jefferson said…” We stood in the World War II Memorial, and walked around the circle.
|In honor of the Australian soldiers who died at Gallipol|
My father once told me about a conversation he had with a stranger, a veteran like himself. They talked about the war, where they had been. They talked about the proposed memorial. Dad said, “Well, I don’t know… pause, he always had long pauses…look around us. We got a whole country of memorials for what we done.” He was referring to the economic boom and the building of modern America, that followed the big World War.
So many millions died during that War. Are all those towns, fields, forests, and jungles marked by plaques? No.
Sanctity—we need to remember there are places and events that need to be remembered as sacred, or holy. Why? Because someone died there, something enormous happened.
In honor of the upcoming Veterans’ Day, November 11th.