Twenty Years Later

I stood in the parking lot overlooking a grassy mound. I took it in: the gravel beneath my feet, the light breeze, the gentle flapping of tiny flags. The silence.

We hadn’t planned to come. We were on the backroads of Pennsylvania. But then we saw the town’s name, and we stopped at a gas station.

“Where is it?” my mom asked the clerk.

He gave the directions, and we followed them. Hidden amid quiet houses and lush greenery, there was a field. And a mound. And a fence covered in notes, pictures, and flags.

Though it was a perfectly sunny day, the air stang. How many tears had watered the grass on the mound?

Heroes’ blood stained the ground. The grass hid it, but the scar remained.

Memories hung in the breeze. What the ground had witnessed. What the people across the street saw. What I had watched on tv that fateful morning, only eight months before.

I took it all in. I wanted to remember this moment for the rest of my life.

Twenty years later, I still remember. I will never forget.