Memorial Day 2009

Last year I splurged and bought the DVD set of the Ken Burns documentary The Civil War. Watching it periodically this year has not disappointed. Burns’ trademark style of using historical photographs and footage, interspersed with subject matter experts and many voices to lend personality to the written word, is just as powerful as it was when it first hit PBS. I thought on this Memorial Day I would share one of the most poignant moments of this or any other documentary film.

We tend to think of Memorial Day in terms of the casualties of the conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries. This simple letter from a soldier to his wife, from the cusp of a battlefield that could have been your neighbor’s pasture, is as powerful a statement of commitment and loss as could be found anywhere, and is as timely and thought-provoking as it was when it was penned, nearly 150 years ago.

Remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom.

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