Many of us have childhood memories of going as a family to the cemetery to visit the site where our great-grandparents were buried.
We would all dress up in our nice clothes and take a picnic lunch. We would be reminded of who was buried there and how important they were to our life. Our parents would clean the overgrown grass around the graves.
We knew these people we had never met played a vital role in our family. But as we got older, our family stopped going altogether.
My parents and my three brothers are buried at the Payne Gap Cemetery. My three brothers and I served a total of 75 years for our country. I’m ashamed to say it’s been years since I visited their graves.
My wife Estelle passed away five years ago and is buried in the Sacramento Valley National Veterans Cemetery, and the last time I visited her grave I had to go back to my car as my kids put flowers on the grave. The cemetery is only a few miles from my home, and I cannot get up enough nerve to visit her at this time.
I’ve served during many wars, but right now I’m so ashamed that I cannot visit my people’s gravesites.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.