Today I remember all who have served and did not return--some enlisted, some inducted. They went with their dreams, their fears, and their duty. When in San Diego, I walk the paths of the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, on a grassy hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Through the maze of indistinguishable white stones, I pray for those lying near my feet and wonder, did I know you?
I think, too, of the veterans who now populate our streets, veterans who are homeless and in need of medical attention. They signed discharge papers, but they did not leave the battlefield and have become part of the walking dead. With their backpacks of tormenting experiences, their physical and mental disabilities and their lost youth, they struggle to make sense of it all. They have been unable to transition to civilian life, betrayed by promises we have not kept.
This Memorial Day I remember those who have served and suffered the ultimate sacrifice--and I also remember those who are the victims of our collective unmet obligation.