The U.S. Army Trumpet Ensemble performs “Mansions of the Lord” in Arlington National Cemetary to honor the men and women of the U.S. military who sacrificed their lives in service to their country.
May 25, 2020

At the graveside of my father, it was "Taps" that finally made me cry.

Although my father was a Marine, he never saw action and we didn't think about it much. (He used to joke that the Germans surrendered as soon as he enlisted, because they knew he was coming.) I don't know who thought to make the arrangements for a military presence at his funeral, but there were men in uniform, shots fired, a flag folded and handed to my mother, and a trumpet player.

There was "Taps." I thought about the sound of brass instruments, and how it reaches out to touch the heart -- even someone like me, who is a pacifist. My lower lip began to tremble uncontrollably and I started to sob, for my father and for this part of his life I didn't even know.

I can't even imagine what it's like for the families whose members actually died in a war, or an action, or whatever they call it these days. Regardless of the political rationalizations behind them, there's no escaping it: These people died in the service of our country, no matter how tangled the reasons. They served something higher than themselves.

On today, Memorial Day, remember those who paid that ultimate price, and do everything we possibly can to prevent it from happening again.

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