This is a photograph of my mother, my aunt, and my two cousins, once removed. It was taken during the early days of World War II.
The young man (my cousin) was home on leave. He was in the navy, and I believe it was his last chance to see everyone before he "shipped out."
This was "before my time," but I'm still struck by the emotions I sense whenever I look at the photograph. Part of it has to do with the way my mother and her sister and cousin are standing, as if they are trying to shield him from things to come, and part of it has to do with my mother's sad face.
He returned from the War safely. His brother, who was also there that day but not in this photograph, did not. People in the family have told me that his mother believed he was incapable of taking the life of another human being, no matter the circumstances, and that he knew, in the way soldiers sometimes do, that he would not return.
This is my own personal connection to Veterans Day and Memorial Day. And it's a big part of the reason why I always, always vote.
I wanted to share it with you...