A sobering experience
Sunday, May 28, 2006
By Louise Wyatt-Boyd
Recently, my husband and I visited Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery where my brother is buried. This being only the third time we had been there, we were unsure of the grave location. I searched the computer for the gravesite, and when the information on his military status, along with the image of our flowing national flag came up, I thought, "This is my little brother," and I could not keep from weeping.
We went to his grave. There, on a hillside surrounded by thousands of like stones, we stood. Again, I wept as I placed a rose on his grave. We were there for a few minutes looking out upon the hills, noting funeral processions and the committing of other former soldiers. We heard the salutes of gunshots and the melancholy, somber notes of taps. Having served in the Air Force and still remaining true to his comrades, my husband stood quietly at attention in reverence to the unknown, fallen comrade.
For an experience of a lifetime, go into the rolling hills or plains of a national cemetery. Stand there, and reflect upon those who have given their lives in combat or those who served and then came home to live out their natural lives. My brother was afflicted with the results of Agent Orange. He served honorably in the Vietnam War and at the age of 54 was diagnosed with melanoma. He lived a horrible five months before being called to his heavenly reward.
During his time in Vietnam I made the statement, "If my brother dies in combat, I will feel more contempt for those who protested that war than the actual person who is responsible for his death."
Now, when we have national leaders, and others, speaking coldly about the wars around the world, I become very distraught.
Our beloved country has been blessed with freedom because of those willing to give their lives. Can we not support our boys serving across the world in uniform, willing to give of themselves so the coming generations (and we) can enjoy freedom?
Louise Wyatt-Boyd is a Cape Girardeau resident.