May 29th, 2006
|10:42 am - A day of remembrance|
While much of the US is enjoying a three-day weekend, barbecues, parades, parties, various public displays of drunkenness, and get-togethers with families, it should be remembered that Memorial Day not just a free play day, but is intended to honor those who have lost their lives in service to their country.
When you hear "37 troops were killed in a car bombing in Baghdad," you're hearing about people like me, my husband, and possibly your brother, sister, son, daughter, wife, mother, father, or next-door neighbor.
When you see the names on the Vietnam memorial, or on other monuments, or graves of those fallen in battle, you are seeing the names of real people who lived, and loved, and laughed, and cried, and hurt just like the rest of us.
You are seeing the names of people who voluntarily (and, in some cases, such as WWII and Vietnam and Korea, involuntarily) gave up many of the personal and civil rights that we as private citizens take for granted, trusting that their leaders would use them well and honorably in the pursuit of freedom, and that their sacrifice would be somehow of value.
Some were noble heroes, and some were not. There is, after all, good and evil in all of us. But on this one day, I would like to remember those fallen warriors with honor and reflection. Remember their humanity, and that they were a part of us, and that they are no more, and recognize this loss.
At 3:00pm today (your local time), for one brief minute, I hope you will join me in observing the National Moment of Remembrance. Memorial Day should be more than "the day the pool opens." Rather, it is a day on which, in the words of Abraham Lincoln:
the mystic cords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart ... should swell into a mighty chorus of remembrance, gratitude, and rededication on this solemn occasion.
To those who serve, and have served: you are not forgotten.
This, I swear while I yet live.
Thank you, not only for your service, but also for so eloquently putting this into words.
One must wonder how this day devolved for so many into BBQ and Beer Day...it should be required that anyone over 18 visit the traveling Vietnam wall, just to feel the impact of so many names... You don't see it, you feel it, and Memorial Day would never be the same after...
It's a day off from work, and the people getting killed are a long way away or a long time ago.
I never got to see the traveling Vietnam Wall, but I saw the real one in D.C. and you're absolutely right about the impact.
Some asshole in New Orleans spraypainted "Movez" (I assumed it was a tag signature) on one of the war memorials there. I'd like to hunt that idiot down and take him on an at-gunpoint tour of the D-Day Museum down the street.
I find it depressing that anyone has to be reminded of what this holiday is about. Even if they are enjoying their day off or BBQing, at least the idea of WHY should be somewhere in their minds. Maybe they make up for the people who can never get it out of theirs.
I visited the Wall in DC, along with the other memorials, back when I was in high school. The few family members I have who served (one WWII that I know of, then Gulf War(s)) all made it back... I cried anyway. All those names, and so many of them belonged to freaking kids. There are people dying over there right now who are the same age as the kids I remember being in middle school when I graduated. I'm afraid to watch the news sometimes, afraid of seeing a familiar face again.
How could anyone forget? :(