We Happy Few

As the sun sets on our pilgrimage and on the horizon I’m filled with gratitude for a week of healing and peace. A week ago most of us had never met and now seven days later we are united by the common experience of a journey that took us from Rome to Poggio Bustone, Greccio, St. Mary of the Angels, LaVerna and Assisi and many other villages and hamlets along the way. In June of 1972 my enlistment in the United States Naval Reserve seemed full of uncertainties. It was a disruption or so I thought to my life up to that moment. Little did I realize that I was embarking on a journey that would bring to Rome and Assisi twice in as many years. Nor did I imagine that I was joining a select fraternity of women and men with whom I would feel kinship that transcends time, family and place. As I look across the Spoleto Valley tonight I am grateful for my good fortune and my record of service that has invited me to this sacred place and to relationship with the wonderful folks I’ve been privileged to associate with this week. Frequently friends and relatives thank me for my service but little do they realize what they are saying nor the impact that service has had on our lives. Until you experience the trauma of moral injury and it’s consequences you can’t really appreciate the gravity of military service. Those of us who have worn the uniform of military service and faced a common peril together are bonded forever. We are a band of brothers and sisters

From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered – We few, we happy few, we band of brothers and sisters. For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother. – Shakespeare