Amid the noise of holiday sales and picnics and baseball games and television shows and rushing around to do one more thing before the race officially resumes on Tuesday, how do we make a space quiet enough to actually remember?
I have a colleague whose spouse is in Afghanistan. Here — shared with permission — is a letter this soldier, wife, mother, daughter wrote to my colleague and to her family last Friday about what she will remember this Memorial Day:
Monday is the official celebration of Memorial Day. We will be having the memorial here for 1Lt Schulte and Mr. Pine and then, a larger Memorial Day service. I have been asked to speak about 1Lt Roz Schulte, at the ceremony so I will work on that today. I am honored to do so for her and her family.
Today, as well, is the anniversary of my graduation from West Point—24 years ago! It is hard to believe it was that long ago. Seems just like yesterday! 28 years I have been a soldier….I have always loved the Army and will until the day I die and I owe it to West Point for giving me the opportunity for a great education and for the honor of serving our Nation, in times of peace and war. West Point will always hold a very special place in my heart. It is difficult to articulate but I know you all know how special it is to me.
Today, I am saddened by the loss of these two fallen warriors and the hardship that their families are now enduring as they have come home to them, in flag draped caskets with all the honors due them for their sacrifice for us. It is a debt that can never be repaid.
I know that when you are in the Armed Forces, that is the risk you volunteer for and the sacrifice you will humbly make, knowing that your ultimate sacrifice is for those you love and for those you serve. The profession of arms links you to all those who have served and to those who have come before and will come after you. There is no greater honor than in service to our Country and in service to others to ensure our freedoms as a Nation are preserved. I am constantly humbled by the dedication, service, commitment and sacrifice of our young men and women who each day, give their best, and one day, may give their all. My prayers are with each of them and with their families, and especially with the families of 1Lt Schulte and Mr. Pine.
Thank you all for your support to me and for what you each sacrifice to provide that support and to give me the ability to do what I love doing—being an Army Soldier.
1st Lt. Roslyn L. Schulte, 25, of St. Louis, Mo., died May 20 near Kabul, Afghanistan of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device. She was assigned to the Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces Command, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. (U.S. Department of Defense News release No. 0352-09, May 21, 2009)
Army Reserve Lt. Col. Shawn M. Pine was a veteran intelligence officer by trade, but soldiers and family knew him as a crusader for the underdog. A Ranger, Pine, 51, of San Antonio was killed Wednesday when his SUV hit a roadside bomb near Kabul, Afghanistan. He was a consultant for MPRI, an Old Town Alexandria, Va., security firm. (San Antonio Express-News)