Lest we forget…

When does patriotism become merely another version of fandom?  Do we diminish the value of service by branding it with empty nationalism?

Today is Memorial Day in the United States.  We have set this day aside to remember and pay tribute to our war dead.  Many also memorialize family and friends who have passed.

As I’m wont to do, I begin to ponder things on days like this.

I feel a sense of solemnity on Memorial Day.  Sure, it’s the start of Summer and a nice three day weekend that lends itself to the beach, pool and cook outs, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with those things.

Somewhere in the number of 1.3 million American troops have died in war during our country’s history.  That’s a pretty staggering number.  That’s a lot of graves, not all of which are on U.S. soil.

Not really sure I have much of a point beyond that number.  1.3 million.  How many more before we’re done?

Shot, stabbed, decapitated, disemboweled, burned alive, drowned – all the the horrible ways you can die…

We wrap it up in ceremony and parades.  Do we do this to salve our consciences?  Wouldn’t no more war be a better memorial?

Erin’s Obit

Erin Allison Pfister was a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter and a proud U.S. Marine. Erin passed away Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2008.

She was born in Huntsville, Ala., Dec. 17, 1988. Throughout her life she brought joy to everyone in her life with her love of laughter and her wonderful wit. She excelled in school and participated in gifted and talented programs during elementary school in Ham Lake, Minn., and Loveland, Colo., and also in middle school in Loveland. She graduated one year early with honors from North Stafford High School in Stafford County, where she made many dear friends and loved her participation with the preschool program. She always loved young children and hoped to be a teacher, as well as have a large family.

After high school, she worked as a preschool teacher prior to joining the U.S. Marine Corps Sept. 10, 2007. At her boot camp graduation Dec. 7, 2007, Erin received honors as her company’s high shooter. After training, Lance Cpl. Pfister was assigned to Marine Air Control Squadron 2 at MCAS, Cherry Point, N.C., where she made many close friends and worked as a supply specialist.

Her plans for the future included going to college for a physics degree. Erin was a vibrant, spontaneous and smart young woman, who loved animals, Japanese anime, music and tattooing. She was a dedicated and loyal friend, who always took the time to tell family and friends alike that she loved them.

Erin is survived by her mother, Betsy Pfister of Stafford; a sister, Melinda Pfister of Fairfax; her grandparents, Robert and Claire Thrift of Masonville, Colo.; and a large extended family, as well as many friends who also loved her. “We love and miss her, and will hold her in our hearts forever.”

Erin’s family will receive friends at Mullins & Thompson Funeral Service, Stafford Chapel, on Thursday, Aug. 14, from 5 to 8 p.m.

A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 15, at Quantico Marine Corps Base Chapel. Interment will be private.

From the Free Lance-Star

She’s Gone

Erin was an old girlfriend of Seth’s. She took her own life last week. We don’t know why. All we know is that she left us all with void we will carry for some time, if not forever.

As you can see, she was a beautiful young woman, and while we didn’t see much of her lately we were fortunate enough to have her visit for a while one afternoon over Memorial Day weekend.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and many friends. We are all devastated.

Good bye, Erin.