Montage of Memorial Day Images

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Roll Call
There at the Memorial Day ceremony
They accepted the invitation to call the names of the fallen
Known personally to each of them

Some, based on their attire, appeared to be ordinary citizens like me
Others based on their attire, were veterans of the Vietnam War
Some voices were clear and strong
Others choked with emotion
Calling out names, each representing one I will never meet

And I wondered
For how many was it the first time to break the silence
And in speaking a single name
Began to speak the unspoken

I wonder
Did speaking that name bring pain
But also release?

They stood together
In combinations of red, white, and blue
He stood with shoulders erect
This white haired, broad shouldered man whose face I never saw
Head sometimes bowed

She stood close and, in the face of words such as
“Some placed their lives on hold to answer the call”
Gently rubbed his back
Her profile visible as she turned her head to look at him
Sometimes to smile
At other times to lay her head on his shoulder
Always rubbing his back
Offering comfort and affirmation without words

Thank You
He greeted me before the ceremony began
Dressed in a black American Legion cap
White shirt and hair
Black slacks
Warm smile
A gentle touch on my shoulder
As he said, “How are you?”
And paused long enough to hear my response

At the end of the ceremony
He turned to me and asked
“Are you a veteran?”
“No,” I replied
“Thank you, for your support,” he said
And it was hard not to cry as I responded,
“Thank you

© E. Wright 2015

This blog post was posted originally on my photography blog, fitlyspoken, on May 25, 2015.