There are moments of peaceful silence interrupted by the chatter of visitors and the quiet songs of birds. I can hear the sound of the surf, the same surf heard long ago by the people who surround me, but they don’t hear the chatter, they didn’t hear the birds, they only hear the silence now.
They are only names to me, but yet I feel connected to their silence. I feel the pain their families felt when they became a name to me.
I cannot describe the emotions I experience as I sit here among the dead, among the heroes. They died so that I would never know the sting of fascism and I am grateful to them, to their families.
I am not the most patriotic person. I do not believe in venerating the flag as if it is a symbol of purity, as if the nation it represents has done no wrong, but as the Stars and Stripes waves above me, above the silent, I can’t feel anything but guilt mixed with pride.