Many, many years ago, as a wee lad living Kansas, I recall the vast rolling wheat fields. I would stand in wonder as the winds and breezes swept through and over the standing wheat creating what I thought the ocean would look like. I could actually see the wind walking across the fields. It was a beautiful thing to watch, hypnotizing. Years later, in the middle of the Pacific, I could watch the winds creating the same sweeping waves that I remembered all those years ago.

Several years ago I visited Arlington National Cemetery. As I stood there in the midst of the stones marking generations of our fallen heroes I harkened back to all those years ago looking through a child's eyes at the "ocean" of wheat. In that national field of mourning I noted how the land rose and fell, hillocks and swales, all covered with simple stones. In my mind's eye it was again an ocean, a vast stone wheat field. Once, in Dallas, I came across a Confederate cemetery honouring fallen Texas cavalry troopers finally home from the war. Once again I stood with the heroes and saw the hillocks and swales each covered with the peaked stones of Southern fallen

I have visited quite a few or our National Cemeteries across the country. Many of my family lie beneath those stones across the country, heroes of their own war. Standing before The Black Wall in D.C., honouring my comrades of "my" war, I again see the ocean, the vast black wall bearing the names of my own mates, over 58,000 of them. As I see the ocean of black I again see the winds over the wheat, the stands of grain sweeping with the wind. Each head of grain that of an American hero. As I stand before my father's headstone there in the National Cemetery in San Antonio or my grandfathers, all still serving proudly with their mates in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, I seldom feel the tears anymore. Time does that I suppose. I feel the heat of the sun on my back, the breezes flitting back and forth and, again, in my mind's eye, I am once again a wee lad looking at the wheat fields of Kansas and the winds bend the grains to appear exactly like the vast and lonesome expanses of the Pacific. 

Honour, Duty, Courage are words that always leap to mind along with, Longing, Fear, Lonesome. Each time I am honoured to stand with these heroes, all my mates through the generations, I feel the emotions sweeping through me, like the winds, and I stand just a wee bit taller being one with them for a short time and knowing one day I too will join them in those fields of heroes.

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Comment by chris shea on May 27, 2014 at 8:54am
Nice reflections David. Thanks for sharing the contents of your heart.

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