In Arlington Cemetery there are two graves that I visited as a small child with my parents and my father's relatives. I never knew these two young men--cousins of my dad's who lost their lives fighting in WW II. They were my great aunt's only sons. Reginald D. Winter was born July 2, 1920 and died on July 10, 1943. Herbert T. Winter was born May 8, 1922 and died January 5, 1944.
As a child, I heard the words "killed in action," "only sons," and other phrases swirling around in the adult conversation, but I was too small to attach the significance to them with which I hear them now. Can you even begin to imagine what my great aunt went through? Losing her two sons, six months apart--is that worse than if they'd died at the same time? Twice you hear that news, and how can you even process it once? Your precious baby boy is dead, his life lived and given for his country and the freedom we cherish. Well, some of us. I don't remember my great aunt, but I do remember those names, for I heard them off and on throughout my childhood. Herbie and Reggie. Gone too soon.
Arlington is an amazing place, hallowed ground where heroes rest. I pray that Herbie and Reggie rest well, and that someday I will know them. My dad was no doubt extremely proud of his cousins, who were younger than he. He joined the Air Force after college and made it his career. Always in the background somewhere were Herbie and Reggie. I remember. God's peace to all who have paid the ultimate price and to those who serve now and have served in the past. To those who have sustained grave injury in body or mind. Heroes all, and I thank you. I do remember.