photo of the month
from randy kato

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I recently visited my dad's inurnment site at one of our veterans' national cemeteries. I had never seen one of these places in person. It's very powerful.

Adding to the ambience were these wreaths, hand-made, fresh wreaths at every grave site. Thousands of them. Later I would find out that these weren't just at this cemetery, but at national cemeteries throughout the nation as part of the Wreaths Across America program...perhaps around one million wreaths!

As I looked more closely, I was further moved by what I saw on the grave markers. Despite the neatly arranged, uniformly sized stones, the names inscribed upon them were all so varied. It was like looking at a world map, tracing these people's origins to all corners of the globe. A nation of immigrants.

And above each name, a symbol of belief. Among the many crosses and the non-denominational emblems like the eagle or infinity, you'll find dozens more, representing not just major world beliefs like Islam, Atheism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, but little known iconography related to Native America, Wicca, Hammer of Thor. There is even a symbol associated with a specific Shinto shrine in Hawaii. All are respected. All are represented.

Despite their roots in so many different nations, and beliefs (or not) in so many different deities, they all bled the same blood. They are all Americans, and they all fought for this country.


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