If we work it right, we don't ever or even have to think of those with whom we grew up and with whom we went to school but who never, themselves, got to be old, or whose parents and grandparents, having survived the Depression battled fascism to its knees in a world wide war and their children and their children who have been engaged in a dozen "smallish" wars for the last half a century that all seem to cost lives.
Every town across the country has observances and we here in Norwich, Connecticut have three all of which you can easily participate in with the first, as is tradition at Memorial Park in Taftville, starting at 10, which this year honors the life and sacrifice of Army Corporal Fred Roessler who died in Trier, Germany, on January 8, 1919.
Coming back across town to Little Plains Park, formed at the split between Broadway and Union Street, at 11 is a brief remembrance service for the 26th Connecticut Regiment Volunteer Infantry many of whose members are interred in the Yantic Cemetery and whose memorial in the pocket park honors their sacrifice in the Civil War at the Battle of Port Hudson.
You'll still have time to cheer on or to march in the parade organized by the Norwich Area Veterans Council that steps off 'sharply' at noon from The Cathedral of Saint Patrick and ends with a memorial ceremony at Chelsea Parade.
On a day usually filled with backyard barbecues and family softball games the remembrances help us realize war is not an abstract geo-political game played out on a grand stage by dominant personalities-it is very local, extremely personal and heartbreakingly private. Those of our neighbors who choose military service have as many reasons for so doing as there are those who so serve.
And while today we should mark the ultimate sacrifice of those who have served, we can also spare a thought or prayer for those who have survived as well. They bear scars, often invisible and painful, of their struggles that take a lifetime to heal.
We must never lose sight of all of those whose service makes us who we are and to whom we owe more than we can ever repay. They are a call to arms for each of us to be better than we are for ourselves, our children and our nation.