“If every fallen hero was acknowledged with a cross, it would fill the entire Santa Monica Beach”
- a sign placed by the Pier
I’m one of the few fortunate to say that I’ve never had anybody in my family fight in a war, nor do I know anyone currently fighting for their nation. I’ve never had to mourn for a loved one killed in action, or rather, for anyone in the last few years. So who am I to say that I understand the negative effects of the war, and how devastating it must be to learn that a loved one was killed! I don’t think I could ever understand unless I were to experience it myself, but today on Memorial Day, the city of Santa Monica commemorated the brave, fallen soldiers by placing a cross on the beach for each hero.
According to IraqBodyCount.org, the current number of deaths is 116,633.
This number means a lot more when seeing rows and rows of crosses, covering a large section of the beach. Some crosses had heart-warming messages from loved ones and pictures of their soldiers. I walked from cross to cross reading some of these messages and tried putting myself in the shoes of families who will never have another chance to tell their son how much they love him, or how proud they are of him. It was so sad to see that most of these soldiers were younger than I was, yet much braver than I would ever be.
While one portion of the Santa Monica beach was commemorating, a much larger part of the beach was packed with people enjoying their day off by having BBQs and laying under the sun. I have never seen Santa Monica with so many people – I could barely see the sand (ugh, tourists). It was quite a contrast between the crowded part of the beach and the rows of crosses – I could feel the change in energy level as I made my way around the area. After seeing the names and pictures of fallen soldiers, I wasn’t sure if I could be cheerful enough to spend a day playing on the beach. Fortunately I was spending the day by myself so I wasn’t being a downer to anyone, but even so, I felt much less happy about my day off than I did this morning.
Do you know anyone who lost their life fighting in a war? How did you celebrate Memorial Day?