75 years after the war ended my hometown unveiled a memorial to World War II veterans, and veterans of all wars.
On the anniversary of D-Day a crowd (yes, a crowd) in relatively tiny Cumming, Georgia braved the near-winter breezes and just a sprinkling of sun to view the ceremony outside city hall on 100 Main Street.
Perhaps fittingly, for today’s generation, the sculpture recognized not another battle, military victory, or a count of those lost in war, but of the sacrifice and humanity of our troops in the field, regardless of where or when they served. The sculptor, Gregory Johnson who calls Cumming home, rendered the figures of a young man in uniform, sharing his rations with two thin and possibly orphaned children. He’s caught in mid-stride, holding a spoon of beans for a young girl while a boy waits patiently a cup in his hand.
What I found most remarkable, as of course the whole is nothing more than cold, bronze metal, was the expression of care and concern in the soldier’s eyes. Was it my imagination, or perhaps a drop of rain from the clouds overhead, but the eyes glisten, tears a blink away.
As our county commissioner said in the unveiling, now, as cars and trucks passing through town stop at what has always seemed to be an interminable red light, they’ll look left or right and think for a minute about what the men and women who served in the war did for all of us and for people across the globe.
Is there a memorial in your home town that you’d like to share? Snap a photo and send it to me.