Late in the afternoon of June 6, while completing some work at Riverview Cemetery in Canton, a young lady suddenly appeared with what first appeared to be a bouquet of flowers.
“Do you know what special day this is?” she asked as she approached.
After thinking a moment, I responded “The anniversary of D-Day!”
“Yes! Are there military veteran graves in this part of the cemetery?” she asked.
I realized at that point that she held a wrapper containing red roses. I pointed out several World War II veteran graves that I was aware of nearby. Realizing her intent, I noted what a nice gesture of remembrance as she placed a rose on the first nearby tombstone.
“Do you represent a group or organization recognizing veterans?” I asked.
“No” she replied. “I am Filipino. One of my family was killed by the Japanese occupational forces in the Philippines, and others barely survived the war. I am doing this in their memory, and to honor the American veterans who fought in the war and gave back freedom to our people.”
She soon disappeared as quietly as she had arrived, leaving a red rose on each WWII veteran’s tombstone that she found. She left me thinking in a much broader way about the ramifications of WWII, far beyond the beaches of Normandy and the European conquest that we usually associate with D-Day.
At this time of discord and bad press over immigration issues, this act of appreciation and remembrance by someone of obviously foreign descent, showing honor and thanks to our country and to our veterans, certainly gives food for thought and reason to appreciate what at least some recent immigrants to this country have to offer our great nation.
Our country didn’t just win the war — we gave back freedom and opportunities for a better way of life to countless people and future generations around the world! And sometimes it takes an outsider to help us see this outcome more clearly!