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Over the years, we’ve seen a great many photographs of the faces of veterans on Memorial Day.

We see many of them year after year as local Memorial Day ceremonies bring out those most committed to the day’s honor: veterans.

What are they thinking that day? What’s in their mind’s eye as their glances wander. As they grow older, their eyes become more moist as the words of honor and remembrance are spoken.

One of our more articulate vets is Tony Saboliauskas of Pepperell. A battle-tested Marine of the Vietnam years, he is very good at driving home his message.

His talk to schoolchildren in Pepperell and Townsend is one of the highlights of this annual observance. This year, he prepared a slide slow.

“Every image I have prepared will show you the exact picture of freedom,” he said at North Middlesex Regional High School.

His slides showed cemeteries whose row after row of gravestones bore the remains of American soldiers. They spanned the globe, from Italy and France to small town America, and he showed a telegram informing a family that their soldier was among the missing.

Another slide displayed graves bearing makeshift crosses in dense jungle and another frame with soldiers covering a fallen brother with a poncho.

“On the field of battle, death is crude,” it read.

Part two of his slide show illustrated the cost to those back home; it showed soldiers’ funerals with children, wives and mothers accepting folded flags.

He was trying to show the scope of the holiday, he said, which encompasses “thousands of gravestones to the tears of a single broken heart.”

Is this what we see in old soldiers’ eyes: Memories of a thousand gravestones through the tears of a broken heart?

“On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes of a mighty nation!” — Thomas William Parsons