Stop the ACLU
In a nation that is seemingly losing its sense of self, its feeling that heroes walk among us, we take just a few minutes this weekend to remember those who have served us. To every member of our armed forces, alive and passed, in combat or support, we thank you for your service. No matter what your job was, we thank you for your service.
My birthday was on Friday, a day which also coincided with my father’s death on the Friday before Memorial Day fifteen years ago. The old bastard was born in 1913, and he and my mother already had four destroyed marriages between them before they married each other–suicide, German anti-aircraft fire, divorce, you name it. I inherited their stories, some of which will appear in a separate post. There’s nothing like growing up with people who have more in common with their ghosts than with each other–or you. Anyway, I figured I’d mosey on down to Golden Gate National Cemetery south of San Francisco and have a little family reunion. It’s like a bad joke–four generations of the Springer family in the same place and same time–and two of them above ground.
Memorial Day is the most personal of public holidays. It has transformed into that over the years. Somewhere along the way, between the time it was officially recognized as a day to honor the nation’s war dead and the time it became an obscenely commercialized and busy holiday weekend, Memorial Day became a time to honor the memory of all who passed before us, civilian and military, and who gave our lives meaning. It was an important day not only for families who suffered losses in American wars, but for all families.
What’s Next: Innovation in Newspapers has a photo roundup of Memorial Day front pages.
This Memorial Day, like nearly every since I’ve known him, my husband will buy a large bunch of flowers. He’ll round up our entire, sleepy-eyed family, load us all in the van for a short drive across town to the park with four bridges and three volleyball courts. In addition to the bridges and fun, there are several monuments at the park. One is a wall that bears the names of every soldier in the state who died or vanished in Vietnam. There is a larger-than-life statue of a soldier cradling a fallen comrade, looking off into the distance, far beyond the plastic slides and picnic grounds. The sculptor did an amazing job, the soldier’s gaze is one of determination, sadness, anger, pain and love all at the same time. It is haunting. Children can’t take it for long and quickly run to the nearby swing set, adults force themselves to linger.
The Outdoor Smorgasbord
To any of my readers who are military veterans or personnel, I wanted to thank you and all the troops who have served the United States in the past, who are serving currently, and who will be serving in the future. I never want to take even one of you for granted and I consider it a privilege to live in a country that is protected by men and women willing to give the ultimate sacrifice.
Memorial Day makes most Americans think of the fighting men who gave their all for the country but quite often we tend to overlook the war fought right here. Most have seen Emanuel Leutze’s painting of Washington’s crossing of the Delaware. How many know the story about the lead oarsman, taken to be Prince Whipple, a black man from a wealthy family in Africa sent to America for education but who instead was sold into slavery? Actually, Whipple wasn’t in the boat that night but did serve valiantly in the war, later being freed and settling in New England with a wife and family.
Terry Hall’s Personal Journal
Thank you for giving me the life that I have. Thank you for my freedom.
The Lady Speaks
This Memorial Day, take time to honor our nation’s veterans of all wars, but also take some time out from the grill and the gardening and the various summer projects you might have to educate someone on the Flag and its handling. Speak up on the proper ways to honor our nation’s heroes, past and present. Talk to your children about why our national symbol and those who died for it must be held in the highest regard and treated with the highest respect.
From what I understand, observe and hear from others, many more Americans are once again (or are beginning) to observe Memorial Day as a national holiday other than a day of vacation and self-absorption. I suppose all Americans know someone serving in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere throughout the world. We, hopefully also know that at any time they could make the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, love for their country and those who they are protecting — in addition to the personal sacrifices they and their families already are making.