Remembering a Name

Fort Ridgely Cemetery,
Fairfax Minnesota

“I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety.” Hosea 2:18b

I thought of Millie this morning as I read these words from Hosea.  Hers was the only face I recognized, one Memorial Day, as I participated in a service at Fort Ridgley.  While I knew Millie, I had never heard this part of her story.

She was there, she said, because she wanted to hear her brother’s name read in the roll of the dead.  Millie told me that her younger brother was buried in the cemetery.  He had been drafted in the midst of WWII, and sent to war at just eighteen years old and fresh out of high school. She remembered how much he didn’t want to go to war, and how afraid he was. Only a few weeks after he was deployed, Millie’s brother died on the battlefield. I think of Millie on days like today. At the cemetery, she ached to hear her brother’s name among those being called. She wanted to know that someone remembered him and the life he had led.

In a year where violence has erupted in our cities,  where we still have soldiers returning in caskets, and Covid has devastated the land; I think of all the people who just want to hear the names of their loved one called out.  Who just need to know they are not forgotten.