Monday, May 30, 2011

The Soldier On the Square.

Here in the South, as most of you know, it's common for a town with a square to have a Confederate memorial of some kind in said town square. Franklin, Tennessee is no exception - it was the site of one of the most devastating Civil War battles in Tennessee. I've passed that soldier a million times. One day it dawned on me that he wasn't just a Confederate soldier, but more of an Everyman, at least to me.

He's every untrained backwoods militia man who died fighting for our independence from the British. He's my Union ancestor, John B. Feather, who died at Andersonville in 1864 at the age of 19, a time when he should have been smoking cigars, drinking whiskey, and chasing pretty girls. He's every Doughboy who lost his life in the Great War. He's every soldier who fought at Normandy, and every sailor on the USS Arizona. He's every 19 year-old who died in the jungles of Vietnam. He's every man and woman who's died in Afghanistan and Iran in the service of the United States.

That's what I think of now when I drive by that monument: not just the carnage of 1864, but all the American lives lost in service to their country. I hope that this Memorial Day, you will remember them all.

Till next time ---

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