Monday, May 31, 2010

For Memorial Day: Sullivan Ballou's Letter to His Wife, Sarah

This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read, heard, or seen. It's a letter written by Sullivan Ballou, a Union soldier, to his wife, Sarah, on July 14, 1861, a week before he fought in the First Battle of Bull Run. I first heard it on Ken Burns's documentary, The Civil War. I've now listened to it many times and every time I hear it, I sob. It's a humbling look at a soldier's immense sacrifice and sense of duty towards his country, as well as a powerful declaration of love from one man to his wife. I can't even fathom what it must have been like for Ballou to say goodbye to his wife and children and go off to war, but I am grateful we have this letter to remember him by.

With my thanks to the fallen, Happy Memorial Day.