I stood silently as the casket passed. The stars and stripes that I knew so well draped solemnly over the wooden tomb. A cadre of Marines stood rigidly, prepared to remove the flag. Their quick, but unhurried, and precise movements readily turned the flag into a small, blue triangle adorned with stars. One of them presented the flag to my grandmother and my heart burst. Tears flooded down my cheeks as I listened to the soft trumpet calling ‘Taps,’ my uncle receiving his proper sendoff from his brothers in arms. I will not forget that day; the ceremony and pageantry of a military funeral service that swelled with sadness and pride.
Many of my relatives have served in the armed forces. Some are still here, others are no longer with us and this is one of the days that we remember those who have taken up the banner of this country. I will never be a veteran, but I will not take for granted the service of those before me, or those who at this very moment are serving their country in far away lands. Whether their participation in the armed forces was for good reason or ill-advised, I leave that for history to decide. Today is not the day to tarnish the service of good men and women for the sake of political differences. Today is the day we celebrate the idea that these men and women answered a call to stand for their country. I honor their memory and I hope you will too.