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Donation Heart Ribbon

The Third Monday in May

Each burial party is allowed 30 minutes from beginning to end. Fort Rosecrans is THAT busy.

There are so many people to bury, it is scheduled like clockwork. As the mourners assemble, cars are lined up to await a directive to move into place as the previous burial winds up. As the earlier mourners move away from the pavilion, the next group is moved in. And so it goes all day, every day, except Sunday.

Some of these funerals are for older retired military men like my friend's father, but many are for the "hidden dead" of Bush's War on Terror . I watched as a young girl, the wife of a dead marine, stood all alone in the pavilion to receive the flag presented by the Marine Honor Guard. I wanted to go wrap my arms around her, but there was no time.

She was moved out and our group moved in. I could only imagine that her family and his didn't have the money to travel to San Diego for his funeral and perhaps she had not lived here long enough to have made any friends. I watched her make her way down the driveway to her oxidized old Toyota and drive away alone as the Honor Guard marched off for a bathroom break before the next service.

This administration does not want pictures of the returning war dead to be published. "What we don't see won't hurt us." We do not see combat footage on the nightly news. This antiseptic war seems so far removed, that unless one personally loses a loved one, many can pretend the war isn't happening at all.

This Memorial Day, drive to your nearest national cemetery. Get out of your car and walk among the graves. Read the dates. Stand for a morning and watch who comes and goes as the burials go on and on and on. &

This endless war must end. &

-Citizen Voices blogger Candace Suerstedt is a filmmaker and a mother of three who lives in Coronado. Photos by Candace Suerstedt.

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