I've kicked around the Army for a while now and people come and go. You get assigned to good units and bad units, and eventually you move on to something different.
But along the way you lose people. I remember the first death from an auto accident and how that affected my company when I was a young private. It caused the older Soldiers to start talking about other deaths the unit had before I got there. I remember the first suicide in my career, I remember how that affected those who still alive who couldn't understand why it happened, and why she made that choice.
I remember the first suicide of a Soldier under my command. I remember the death of family members of my Soldiers. I remember a beautiful young widow crying her eyes out while her 18 month old son played and didn't understand that daddy will never come home again. I remember a mother choking back her tears knowing that her son is gone. I remember the memorial ceremonies, the last call of the unit roster, and the firing of seven rifles in unison.
I remember the cross section of America that comes to those memorials. Old bikers in full patches and young families trying to explain the concept of war and loss to small children. Veterans who wish they could trade places with the deceased in the casket and civilians who feel powerless in the face of fate. The pipers who pipe the fallen home.