On this day of remembrance, one thought overwhelms me—how young most of our war heroes were when they died. Maybe that’s the reason, though far from the only one, why visiting military cemeteries is so poignant, whether it be Arlington, Vicksburg, Normandy or a host of others.
They all harbor the remains of what in a spilt second before death struck, were vital young men, some no more than boys, and who now have only a white cross or a Star of David or a little flag to mark what they once were.
Everyone lying in these precise white lines that sometimes go on to the horizon never had a chance to return to their homes and take up their lives. They sacrificed everything--careers, children, love. Everything. Perhaps because I’m a romantic at heart, I do view the loss to them of love and all that it leads to, a wife, children, home, family, as the greatest sacrifice of all.
Though those of us who contribute here are writers of mysteries, suspense and thrillers, all of our books contain elements of love in larger or smaller degree. As does the novel South on Broad by the great American novelist, Pat Conroy. The passage quoted below is a scene from the book. I quote it as a reminder to all of us of what so many gave up so we wouldn’t have to. There’s more to the scene, a lot more, but here’s a taste:
“Words pour out of me that I had thought for twenty years but had never believed I would whisper in the ears of this woman, and she accepts them with forbidden words of her own. With a cry, I fall off her. Then, she kisses me a final time. In darkness she gathers garments that are feathery, and in nakedness she leaves me. What began in mere sin ended in sacrament, and as I lie (t)here alone, I know that she was right: my world will never be the same.”
Note: Jean Harrington is the author of the award-winning Murders by Design Series. Her tongue-in-check Naples-set mysteries are available through Amazon.com.