Like millions of Americans, I was in front of a TV listening to President Barack H. Obama deliver a cliché-ridden, poorly constructed speech.
My wife, Carol, turned to me and asked, “Is it appropriate to wish a Happy Memorial Day when a death of a soldier is not a celebration. It is a sad day and a terrible loss for our nation and his family.”
My mind wandered off and tried to remember the soldier members of our family buried in the Santa Ifigenia cemetery of Santiago de Cuba and in the American National Cemetery at Arlington, Virginia just across the river from Washington, DC.
In Santa Ifigenia my great grandfather, Major General Pedro de Cespedes Castillo, who signed the Declaration of Independence in La Demajagua, October 10, 1868 is buried.
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In Arlington, my wife’s great grandfather, Captain James Lovelace White of Charlotte, North Carolina, who survived the American Civil War, lies in remembrance. More recently, Captain Frank Nusom, U.S. Navy, hero of the battle of Midway against the Japanese and his son, Captain Allen Nusom Rosell, U.S. Navy are buried in the National Cemetery.
With a heavy heart, my mind turned to my childhood friends that had been killed in combat or executed by Communist firing squads. Castro communists do not permit the families to bury their dead by firing squads. “They have no burial sites to honor them,” I recalled silently.
I tried, then, to bring to mind dead soldiers of the Cuban wars of independence or of the three Cuban racial wars that are not entombed and honored.
Surely, the most egregious act of brutal hate was the fate of Major General Ignacio Agramonte, who was mortally wounded in the Battle of Jimaguayu, in Camaguey in the Ten-Years War of Independence. There is no burial site for the Cuban hero.
“No, Carol, I answered her; ‘There is nothing happy about Memorial Day holidays.’ ”
Charles A. Santos-Buch,