The White Rows

I did not know what they meant.
A girl of 14, truly away from home for the first time.
They were simply subjects in my frame,
a girl shaking the disposable camera entrusted to her for the first time.
Stars on a cement wall shone brightly, reflected in the pool below,*
thousands of names etched on a black granite wall,**
soldiers scouting a field, unaware of their own reflections.***

At that age, these were the ones I could understand.
I could read the name on every star,
I could trace every name on the wall,
I could see the face of every statue in the field.

They were symbols.

Every star,
every name,
every face...
was a person,
a life.

But those white stones, pale against the lively green grass...
were cold.

They did not celebrate hard fought freedom,
the memories of brother defending brother,
of men and women rising to answer the call.

No, as I would learn in my later years,
these stones were the true price for freedom,
paid in full.
*World War II Memorial
**Vietnam Veterans Memorial
***Korean War Veterans Memorial

Thank you to all our veterans, as well as their families, who have sacrificed so much to protect the United States of America and her freedom.

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