Veterans Day: A Quote to Remember

A long-time friend, Elizabeth May, the mother of fellow-writer Greg May and widow Gerald May, responded to my email about the Baltimore Sun article mentioning me (you can read it at by giving me a quote from her husband. Gerald May was a widely recognized American Psychiatrist and Theologian.

As Elizabeth told me her email, “Jerry was responsible for the recognition of the Vietnam Vets at the 1987 Memorial Day Service on the Mall. They asked him to write a piece—he said he’d do it if they included the Vietnam Vets . . . Charles Durning read it—had trouble getting through it. After the event, at the reception, Justice Brennan asked to meet him.”

Here’s what Jerry had to say:

“All of us who have lost loved ones know the searing pain of grief. We know how difficult—even impossible—it is to let go. Grief is our wound, the hole inside us left by each precious life that has been taken from us, an emptiness that, indeed, can never be filled by anyone else.

“We go on with our lives. We must. But tonight, as we remember those who have died for our country, let us be reminded that grief is a sacred wound. But let us respect our own grieving, for it is, after all, an expression of our love. And it is an honoring for those who died for us. Let us be assured that the feeling we call grief—the shock, the sadness, its anger and confusion, and, most of all, its loneliness—is our way of saying we love you.”

Jerry May

Written for the 1987 Memorial Day Concert

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