Today we went to an American Military Cemetery in England. This Cemetery spoke volumes despite having so few words in it. Honestly, the amount of physical communication was limited to names, dates and a few symbolic phrases. However, these few sentences and sentiments left behind a world of heart-breaking story about the worlds most bloody war.
The most powerful of these was the wall of the missing. The wall simply includes names, dates and service. However, the simple idea of “wall of the missing” stands out. As our tour guide points out what “missing in action” action means. It means parents sleepless nights not knowing if they’ll ever see their children again, without any source of closure. This was really powerful for me, but what was really interesting was how little our guide needed to show, the idea was already there. It was true, however, that without knowing the age of the soldiers who went missing in action, the full blow was missing. However, the strongest form of communication in the building was what I participated in.
At the end of our tour, I helped remove the flag from the Cemetery. This does not sound like communication, but it definitely is. The ability to take part of this ceremony meant I was part of the legacy of the cemetery and honor those who lost their lives in the Second World War. This communicated to me I was part of a culture and identity, that I was welcome, that I was an American.