This Memorial Day, I keep thinking of one of the letters my grandfather, The Colonel, sent home to my grandmother during the winter of ‘44-45, as he was leading infantry troops across France and Austria.

His Jeep had hit a land mine, and he was urging grandma not to worry about him; that he had only seen the medics because he had burned his hand pulling shrapnel from his wound. He asked that she send his other heavy coat and his heaviest pajamas, as his trunk had been lost. Don’t worry for me, he said, as very sadly, his driver’s losses were much greater.

We were so fortunate that grandpa got to come home. This Memorial Day I saluted grandpa’s driver and all the brave service men and women we have lost on just and unjust battlefields. And all the brave service men and women we have lost to suicide. And their families, who bear an unbearable burden for a not often grateful enough nation.

Cris Benson

Walla Walla

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