As I grow older, my love of my country seems to expand by leaps and bounds.
I have a much deeper appreciation for what it means to be American, what it means to live in America.
We have spent time this weekend enjoying some of my favorite things, farmlands and baseball, hot dogs and vendor peanuts, garage sales and friendly folks.
But this year, more than any other year, I am acutely aware of the fragility of the world, of the impact of war on everyone. Big and little, young and old, from one corner of the world to the next, it seems that no one escapes it.
Somehow these times they are changing, and yet, they aren't.
90 years later this local soldier's grave is as poignant as ever for me.
I visited the Vietnam memorial in Washington D.C. in my early 20's. My dad is a Vietnam Vet and it was a life changing moment for me. I touched some of the 58,000 names on that wall and realized my own good fortune, my father came home to meet my mother, to have children and grandchildren.
But he is far from untouched by war.
And by association, even as a young child, I was touched by that war. It forever changed our lives. It forever changed my father.
According to this there are more than 33,000 causalities of the Iraq war. 16 deaths alone this month. 29,000 injured. Numbers much smaller than Vietnam, but no less significant.
I know that many of you are forever changed by the Iraq war, or wars of the past.
In my heart they are not forgotten. You are not forgotten.