Eric Burns wrote better than I could hope to about this day
I have been rather loud and reproachful about some of my country's actions in this space. That is because they are things that wound me at my very core. I am proud to be an American, and I take that which I percieve to besmirch my country's honor as a personal insult. But that is not what today is about.
My great- grandfather; my namesake, fought in World War I almost immedeately after becoming a US citizen.
My grandfather was a Seabee in World War II, building airfields in enemy territory.
Both men returned alive.
When my grandfather died five years ago, a Naval officer was present at the cemetary. A United States flag was draped over his casket, as is the case for all who have served honorably in a time of war. Before the casket was lowered, two servicemen took the flag, folded it, and handed it to the officer. He presented it to my grandmother and said:
On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one's service to this Country and its Navy.
two million, seven hundred and fifty seven thousand, one hundred and ninety six servicemen and women have been listed missing, killed and wounded as a result of service. The actual number is far greater.
It is on this day that we remember them, as well as those who fought and lived.
And on this day we remember, regardless of our convictions, that we are grateful