Section 60, Arlington National Cemetery

Section 60, Arlington National Cemetery

“It’s going on four years, plus, since Bobby was killed. I’ve just returned from DC with my husband and we can never go down there without visiting him. This time there was another Marine burial going on. The 21-gun salute sent chills right up our spines.

“What losing Bobby also did, to us, was make us aware that nothing is forever. My husband and I had to make our decisions about what to do when our day ends. We’ve decided we want half of our ashes to be at Arlington National Cemetery, though there are rules that say we can’t be there. A spouse can be buried there, but there are no provisions for parents. But we are going to be there. We are going to have half our ashes spread on the ground, across Bobby’s grave. The rest of our ashes are for our other son Greg. Then we will be with both of them forever.”

—Paula Zwillinger of Lagrangeville, NY, whose son was killed in Iraq

Excerpted from War is Personal (Many Voices Press, 2010)