Already a somber event, Memorial Day has devastating new meaning this year, as Pamela Loxley Drake writes.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeHe crouched down behind the stone halfway back. The single notes eerily drifted across the other stones, calling to the sleeping residents who are gone yet not forgotten. A bugle's call to memory. A bugle's call….

Mom cut her iris and peonies that were in bloom. I was in my Sunday best. As we entered Newcomer's, we littles were given several stems of the freshly cut flowers. The band played as we were led around the stones walking in the damp morning grass.

Soon fresh flowers dotted the ground where some stones were broken and old. The ground on some was sunken, as if it decided to just give up its protective cloak. A few places were covered with fresh soil marking new tears and loss.

Perhaps I should have written this last week when my heart was not so heavy. Perhaps I should just let this column go this week.

Memorial Day. Forever it will be marked with the graves of 19 children and two teachers.

My heart is broken. I will not forget.

Heroes. We mark the grave of those who serve. There are many who serve with their lives during their lives in other battlegrounds too evil to mention.

As a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, a daughter, I ask myself what would I have done. Without hesitation, I would have covered every child I could reach.

We understand what it is to protect. To serve. To risk our lives for those who cannot protect themselves.

Having worked in the school district for 12 years with healthy kids and kids at risk, I understand this need to protect. Raising kids is not as easy as moving forward each day in the same routine. No, it is the ability to listen to what is said as well as what is not. For children have no words for many feelings, including anger.

Is this a mental illness fix we need?

When do we place love and life above self, above "me?" When do we protect every child, every adult, regardless of our political party or family-embedded beliefs?

I was raised in a conservative family. I was a rebellious child, because I did not understand many of their views. I rebelled against religion that did not look outside its own boundaries. I saw children in the children's home, children abused, poverty, old people in far-from-decent housing. I was a child, but I knew.

It is hard to walk away from what we have so deeply embedded in our histories. As an adult, I found my own answers and began to write.

There is a disease in this land of ours. It has taken the lives of children over 27 school shootings this year. A year not half over.

My heart aches as I write this. I know that yours does as well. We need heroes every day. Those who work with children. Those who make the laws of our country. We need each and every one of us to take notice and work for changes in our families, in our communities and in our country. This has to end.

A bugle's call…

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl." You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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