Today is a day of beach, gardens and nicely burnt burgers. It's also the day in which we remember those who died while in military service, whether it was during peace time or fighting rightful or wrong wars.
The miracle of those lives is now gone forever and, at the same time, it has survived through time and space, in the minds of all of us today and hopefully in many other days. I found that these words by Ann Druyan about her husband, Carl Sagan, express the importance of remembering in a perfect way:
When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me - it still sometimes happens - and ask me if Carl changed at the end & converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don't ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous - not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous and so kind… That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time… That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it's much more meaningful…
The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don't think I'll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.
It is wonderful indeed.
In a time in which most people don't give a damn about most things, days like these are trivialized. And while we can't grieve forever for those who we lost or those who gave their lives for us, I can't help but to think about those soldiers, from the kids who were killed at Omaha Beach to the anonymous soldiers who fell victim of accidents behind the lines.
Each of them connected to their own parents, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, lovers and dear friends, all of them sharing their happy moments and blue notes, big and small, huge and inconsequential, cooking their dinners at night and taking their long walks on the park, falling in love and having their hearts broken. Just like the rest of us but, on top of it all, sacrificing their lives for people who they didn't even know.
So cherish those around you, in the military or not, because this whole being alive next to others business is the most special thing you will ever witness.
And for those who died in service and those who are now serving—we know that many of you read us every day from many places around the world—thank you.