Friday, October 28, 2011


Too Many Names, Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall
Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall

Following the recent death of a well known sports personality, a local reporter chose to use the word "hero." Her use of this term has bothered me ever since.

I'm sure this person was a standup guy. He may have done a lot of things for the sport, and it is certainly sad that he was young. Yet it is not his fame or his money that makes him a hero. He is more a hero for being a father and a husband.

Even that is not enough. There are bad fathers and horrible husbands. We hear about them on the news every day. Instead, it is the behavior, the moral standard, of the father or husband that makes the difference.

You see, hero is a serious word that should carry with it the gravity of its application. It should never be applied lightly. Instead, it is earned, and often through great sacrifice. To assign the word "hero," requires respect for the person so named and for the deed they have done.

Names, Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall

Today I visited the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall in a nearby city. It is by far the saddest place I have been. There are 58,220 names on that wall - men who were either killed or are missing in action. However, you cannot stop there! What of the deaths from a multitude of other wars? These figures reach astronomical proportions. You cannot wrap your mind around it. Yet the truth is simple, these men are heroes. By giving their lives, they earned the respect to be called by that name.

My father served during the Vietnam War. He was fortunate to remain in the United States. He made a statement as we stood there that struck me to the heart.

"There but by the grace of God am I."

You see, these names on the wall are more than national heroes. They are personal heroes. They are people - fathers, husbands, uncles, nephews, brothers, and sons. More important than what they did is who they were to those who loved them the most.

Some people say, "It's too sad. I can't go there and see that." Then they go about their merry way and forget all about it.

But I say, "How can I not?" How can I not honor the men that these names belong to by the simple act of my being there. It is all I can give, and yet it will never be enough.

Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Traveling Wall

Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

*Don't forget my blog posts from 2009 are now available as an ebook! Life, God, and Photography Volume 1.

1 comment:

Jackie said...

Wow, this is beautiful!
Words fail me now!

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