Magazine article VFW Magazine

Memorial Day: In Memory of America's Finest

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Memorial Day: In Memory of America's Finest

Article excerpt

Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery has taken on special meaning over the last decade as the final resting place of America's fallen from Afghanistan and Iraq.

This month's cover story focuses on a relatively small piece of sacred ground in the "Nation's Cemetery." Though Arlington is universally known, one portion of it is familiar only to a tiny but special portion of the American people.

Section 60 is where many casualties of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are buried. Solemn ceremonies have been held there since 2001, little noticed by the public but sometimes covered by the national news media.

America's wars in those countries have largely ended, but the grief endured by the families of the dead never will. They suffer largely alone and in silence.

It is time that their suffering is shared by the nation as a whole; that we take stock of the sacrifices made by this valiant few. For it is likely that after this Memorial Day, their service will be mostly forgotten by a nation preoccupied by the mundane. Indeed, they should be lauded as others have been who did not wear a military uniform.

Earlier this year, a moving tribute was written about a young humanitarian aid worker murdered in Iraq. Let me quote some of the phrases used to describe her life and death because they are perfectly relevant to this column. Her ordeal was the "concern of her extended family in the United States," it was said. She "represents what is best about America."

The writer of the article said: "I could not stop thinking about her parents. …

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