Memorial Day 2013

Boston Common Memorial Day 2013

Boston Common, Memorial Day 2013

Twenty thousand American flags are planted on a hillside on Boston Common. The work of the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund, they commemorate fallen soldiers from World War One to Afghanistan. I made a point of going to see them today, Memorial Day. Spending a quiet moment before them is one way to honor those who serve the country in the military.

I also made a point of reading a book, Outside the Wire. It is a collection of essays by soldiers serving in Afghanistan, edited by Christine Leche. Leche is an American who, in her late 50s, went to Afghanistan and taught creative writing at Bagram Air Base, and Salerno, a forward operating base near the border with Pakistan. The essays in the book are by the soldiers she taught. They describe deciding to enlist, leaving home, shooting at unknown enemies, fighting off ambush by foreigners in Afghani army uniform, seeing friends die, recuperating and dealing with family from afar. They provide a view into a world many of us don’t know. Afghanistan is foreign to most of us, but even the life some of the soldiers lead in the United States seems foreign–they come from very different backgrounds and environments from each other, from me and from most of you.

One soldier makes a simple request of his readers. When you see a soldier in an airport, be kind to her or him.

You can see more about the book at

updated: 1 year ago