Memorial Day Concert 2019

May 26, 2019 at 10:42 am Leave a comment

Memorial Day Concert 2019

Every year I look forward to the annual Memorial Day Concert at PBS. It’s a multi-award television event that honors our men and women in uniform for their service and sacrifice as well as gives recognition to their families and loved ones at home. I hope you can join me in watching it tonight.

I find it especially moving to hear stories of those who had served and paid the ultimate price.

One such stories has stuck in my mind to this day.

Embed from Getty Images
In a previous Memorial Day Concert telecast, Danne Wiest read excerpts from a grieving mother’s letters to her son Eric who was felled by a sniper’s bullet in Iraq. The letters were from Gina Barnhurst who regularly visits his grave on Sundays.

Lance Corporal Eric Herzberg

“There is a peacefulness about this place,” she wrote. “It is quiet and beautiful and special. I am so proud that you are buried here at Arlington. I want the world to know that you are a hero. People need to know the real cost of war – the real cost of freedom – the real sacrifice our service men and women make. They need to know the sacrifice of the people left behind.”

After her presentation, the camera followed Diane Wiest as she went to the grieving mother’s seat in the audience to hug her. As Gina Barnhurst stood up and sobbed, I felt the real meaning of grief. At that moment, I understood the pain and cried with her.

I could only wish that former Pres. Bush and the people who initiated the invasion of Iraq were watching at that time. It was their decision that put her 20 year-old son in harm’s way. Was it worth the ultimate sacrifice? For one thing, she wouldn’t see her son get married and have kids.

“He was just a beautiful person,” she said. “He was fun, he was sensitive. and the thing I hate the most is that he’s not going to be a daddy. He was really great with kids.”

Fatherhood and what appeared to be a bright future died with him.

Today should be a day to honor our fallen heroes like Eric and those that they left behind. It should be a day to bow our heads and pay our respects in unity. It shouldn’t be a day to score political points. Doing so would desecrate the spirit of Memorial Day.

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