My friend Jeanene asked me to speak on her radio program that she intended to be a conversation about Memorial Day.
After two months in Afghanistan, three weeks in a Kuwaiti hospital and traveling halfway around the globe, I exhaust easily. And I've noticed my emotions are raw. I was concerned I wouldn't make it through the conversation. I was afraid I wouldn't be articulate. I was afraid I'd cry. Frankly, at first, I didn't want to do it... and yet I didn't want to disappoint my friend.
It was a thoughtful and emotional conversation not a political one. At the start of the program, Jeanene said: "I think it's really important to distinguish the concept of war from our recognition of the warrior. Because while it's meaningful to debate the virtues or lack of virtues for any given war, it's not OK with me to debate the virtue of the those killed in action.... I don't ever confuse a political action, which is declaring war, with that very sacred action of giving up one's life."
At :36.40 in the hour-long program, I read the 21 names of the soldiers from the 1/25th who did not return from Afghanistan.
I invite you to listen to the conversation and start conversations with your friends and families about the meaning of Memorial Day.
Here is a link to the archived recording of the show, and below Jeanene's description of the intention of the program. Thank you for listening. Thank you for remembering.
This week is a special Memorial Day conversation with journalist Cheryl Hatch, just back after an embed with an Army battalion in Afghanistan where she documented the lives of soldiers before, during, and after deployment. Her years of being in and out of war zones, plus a childhood of waiting for her father to come home from two tours in Vietnam, have brought forth a body of work called THE COST OF CONFLICT. This insightful collection of images capturing what war leaves behind, combined with her reverence and respect for military personnel and their families, should help set the tone for a thoughtful and meaningful Memorial Day Holiday.