FORESTS OF STONE
Scattered throughout this great country and in many foreign lands are countless Forests of Stone. Some are perfectly aligned, delicately manicured and carefully guarded. Visited at times as a courtesy or for official inspections; at other times by somber faced friends and relatives of the precious remains lying beneath the sod of these hallowed forests. Others stand alone in private cemeteries, forgotten, covered with weeds, unkempt and unvisited.
Walking through these Forests of Stone, where each white granite marker stands in mute testimony to a life sacrificed or served to ensure our liberty and freedom, is sobering. Each stone stands at the head of a patriot, blind to race, color or creed, reminding each visitor of the cost of freedom and the sacrifice that each citizen must be willing and prepared to face in order to perpetuate this freedom.
Solitude and peace surrounds these sons and daughters of America who now lie still in death. Many had lives cut short in an ultimate display of honor to secure our heritage for those that follow. Fallen on the field of battle in long forgotten wars in unfamiliar foreign places. Fathers and mothers of children who will never be born and will never enjoy those rights for which they died. Others served faithfully but by chance and the Grace of God, were spared the fate of their fallen brothers and sisters. Sometimes taken for granted in life, they must now be respected in death.
These Forests of Stone have stood as silent sentinels over our military dead since the first markers were carved by hand so many years ago. Weathering gracefully the ravages of wind and rain. Permanent reminders to those who enjoy the milk and honey of America that there will come a time when the call will be sounded to follow their lead; when the greedy and power-hungry of this world will cause the thunder of war to rattle across this great nation. Patiently these Forests of Stone wait, to eventually receive the honored remains of patriots yet unborn.
Pay homage to those who lie here and in private cemeteries across the nation. Seldom visited, seldom thanked, seldom remembered. Remember also those 125,000 sons and daughters lying at peace in twenty-four Forests of Stone on foreign soil; and those who lie in unmarked graves on battlefields and jungle floors throughout the world, for they bravely answered the call and paid the price of freedom. They ask nothing of us. To them we owe everything.
© Larry Dunn, USN Ret.
Used here with his permission
March 8, 2001
"Lest we forget!"