“Without them, who would we be?”

Posted by: Phineas on May 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

A superb essay by my friend Salena Zito for Memorial Day weekend:

Lyle Smith sat in a wheelchair on the grounds of the national cemetery, not far from the Tomb of the Unknowns.

“I never imagined there would be so many headstones,” he said, looking out over the green rolling hills covered with snow-white markers.

Smith was born seven years after the “War to End All Wars” ended; less than 20 years later, he left his family’s homestead in Columbus, Wis., as a volunteer to serve his country in another world war.

Except for time spent in the European theater, he never ventured far from Wisconsin; he married Shirley and they had a son and daughter, each of whom also had a son and daughter, and those four grandchildren each had a son and daughter as well.

“I’ve led a good life,” Smith, 87, said. “I’ve worked hard, I’ve loved my family.”

He made a living as a skilled carpenter and now volunteers at a senior center. He remains fiercely proud of his military service.

Smith struggled to find words to describe how he felt about being where former comrades are buried alongside soldiers from every U.S. conflict going back to the Civil War.

“It’s overwhelming,” he said. “And I think back to our very first war, our Revolution and those freedom fighters, and I have to thank all of them. Without every one of them, I would not be here.”

Be sure to read the rest.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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2 Responses to ““Without them, who would we be?””


  1. Sefton says:

    Back at Arlington National Cemetery, Lyle Smith paused to listen to a chorus of buglers celebrating the 150th anniversary of “Taps.” He saluted and said, “That is for every man and woman who kept this country free, God bless them.”


  2. Drew the Infidel says:

    If you have flag pole at your home, lower the colors to half-mast today as I did on the 20′ pole gracing my place. If you do not have one, get one. And tell any code enforcement officer where to go; remember the BTK killer was one.