The image is of the Freedom Wall at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. I took the picture the last time I was there, a couple of years ago this coming fall. Each of the 4,000 gold stars on the wall represents 100 Americans who gave their lives in that war, and today is the day on which we collectively pause (or should, in between the barbecues and the baseball games) to remember their sacrifices.
Today's a day on which I find myself thinking of C. Valerius Catullus who, long ago, had to make a perilous journey across the Mediterranean to the Troad, where his brother was buried. He wrote about it as follows:
multas per gentes et multa per aequora vectus
advenio has miseras frater ad inferias
ut te postremo donarem munere mortis
et mutam nequiquam alloquerer cinerem
quandoquidem fortuna mihi tete abstulit ipsum.
heu miser indigne frater adempte mihi
nunc tamen interea haec prisco quae more parentum
tradita sunt tristi munere ad inferias
accipe fraterno multum manantia fletu
atque in perpetuum frater ave atque vale.
Carried past many peoples, across many seas,
I come, my brother to these doleful rites,
That I might give you at last this gift in death,
And to speak in vain to mute ashes,
Since Fortune has taken you yourself from me.
Oh, poor brother snatched unjustly away from me,
For the time being do you now accept, wet with
Fraternal tears, these things which ancestral custom
Has handed down as the sad gift for the dead,
And for all eternity, my brother, hail and farewell.
--C. Valerius Catullus, Carmina ci, my translation from the Latin