After most of the families had gone, Smash, Wayne, Little Dude, and I headed over to where one of Smash’s relatives was buried. Walking a few rows over, we came upon the graves of those killed in action in Iraq. One of them, Sgt. Rafael Peralta, was a man whose story we’d all heard. Smash said, “I don’t remember that one.” I told him I knew he’d written of the sergeant. And, yes, he had. The Danz Family has one of the best posts about this young man that goes beyond his actions as a heroic Marine, they tell the story of him as a man, a neighbor, a friend.
Again, these were warriors whose stories we knew.
Later, after Little Dude had left with his dad, Smash, Wayne, and I continued our walk through the cemetery. Part of me wanted to go home and curl up in bed. I was tired, my throat was scratchy, and my back was screaming with pain. Despite that, there was this feeling that I had to walk on. Something was calling me. So, we walked. And we walked.
Thousands upon thousands of the brave are buried at Ft. Rosecrans. Along with their families, they lie in graves marked only by a stone with little information. Who were they? What had their lives been like? Some have been gone a very long time. There is no one left to tell their tales.
Walking on, we talked about how wonderful it would be to have a database that allowed someone to read about the men, women, and children who fill our cemeteries. Their lives shouldn’t be forgotten. Everyone has a story. And, for those who wonder, their voices call to us from a distance greater than we will ever know. Listening with my heart, I heard them say “worry, not so much about who we were, instead, worry about who you are if you forget that we…just…were.”
Taking the lyrics from R. L. Burnside’s “Eyesight to the Blind” and modifying them only slightly:
Oh, when she starts lovin‚Äô
She brings eyesight to the blind
I’d say instead, “When we start remembering, it’s like bringing eyesight to the blind”
May we not blind again.
Special thanks to Darcey of Dust My Broom for the reminder.
All photos may be clicked to open into larger images, although, for some reason, you have to right click to open in another window.