Last week, our Curator Kirsten Edwards was cleaning out a closet in Oatlands’ mansion. She found a pencil sketch of a war memorial for Loudoun’s fallen of World War II and Korea. Knowing that I live in Leesburg, Kirsten asked me if I had ever seen the actual monument. I responded that I walk by it every day, and that it is on the Loudoun County Courthouse lawn on the Market Street side, with two other war memorials. We wondered why the sketch came to be at Oatlands, but both got on with our morning.
Later that day I happened to be in Leesburg on an errand, and ran over to the Courthouse to take photos of the monument for Kirsten to compare to the sketch. I took photos of both sides, the side that faces Market Street and the side that faces the Courthouse. The second, less public side is engraved with a list of the names of Loudoun’s war dead from World War II and Korea. It sits a few yards from two other war memorials, also with lists of the names of Loudoun’s dead.
Everywhere we look online this Fourth of July weekend, we see the words “Freedom isn’t free.” How many times have I walked by those war memorials without giving a thought to the names on the back side? Fourth of July is a celebration, but also a day of remembrance. Tomorrow on my walk, I’ll linger a little at those memorials to say thank you to all who have sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy.