Posts Tagged ‘arlington cemetery’

Coming Home

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

by Mary Ellen Eagan

I spent Memorial Day relaxing – first on Martha’s Vineyard, then on my hammock, finally with friends in our mother-daughter book group.  I spent very little time honoring the fallen men and women who served in the armed forces.  But I don’t know any.  And that’s my point:  I believe that one of the reasons the US is engaged in so many armed conflicts around the world is that the people making those decisions are not the ones whose kids are dying.  For that matter, nor are most of the people who elect those decision-makers.  We have not been asked to sacrifice, and Memorial Day is for most of us just the official beginning of summer.  But for others, every day is Memorial Day. 

One of those is Jacob Davis Mendelow.  I met Jacob in 2008, when our TRB Environmental Impacts of Aviation Committee met in Toronto, and was hosted by Steven Davis-Mendelow, Jacob’s dad.  Jacob had just returned from his final tour in Iraq as a U.S. Marine, and was clearly struggling with re-entry into civilian life.  This weekend, the CBC aired a documentary about Jacob and his current work teaching psychology students about his own struggles with post traumatic stress disorders – not as therapy for himself but to help them be better practitioners.  One of the more poignant statements Jake makes in the documentary is “If I’m alive I’m going to keep working my butt off…  Every time I don’t get an ‘A’ at university I get upset because I feel as though I let down the guys who died and didn’t get to go to school.”   Jacob’s desire to make the world a better place is what drove him to join the Marines; he is now bringing that same passion to his teaching.  He is a remarkable man, and we can all learn much from him.

Arlington National Cemetery