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Thursday, May 25, 2006

WWC #4 - Memorial Day


In the United States, the last Monday in May is a federal holiday. It is a day known for picnics and swimming pool openings. For school being closed and family gatherings. For beer and hotdogs. For the Indianapolis 500. It is the unofficial start of summertime.

Sadly, it is almost too easy to forget why the day was set aside. Originally called Decoration Day, it was a day to tend to the graves of soldiers and care for their widows and orphans. It is set aside to remember our war dead – Memorial Day.


In 1993 I came close enough to being among those memorialized to make this day very important to me. I cannot listen to Taps with a dry eye. A flag at half staff makes my breath catch. A lone soldier saluting a white stone in Arlington will stop me in my tracks – and sometimes make me weep.


I have no doubt that some of those I served with are now among our honored dead – though I do not know who. I think of my friends and comrades; my subordinates and my superiors. Men and women who – for an entire spectrum of reasons – felt service to our nation was worth risking their lives. I can see their faces though many of their names have fled my memories. Some of them I liked, some of them I didn’t – Some of them I loved in a way that few can understand who have not lived among us.

Though the holiday is celebrated by the US, the remembrance and honor are by no means restricted to her own. We should remember all those who have given their lives to protect the liberties we hold dear, regardless of the flag they were burried beneath.


So we should enjoy this free day - have our parties, eat our burgers, splash in the water, spend time with friends and families. But let’s try not to forget those who are no longer with us – and why they are absent.

And, with that in mind, the words for this week’s WWC are Duty and Remembrance.

“from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” – Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

8 Comments:

Anonymous Sharkey said...

Goosebumps. That's what I've got after reading this post.

Thanks for the reminder.

8:30 AM, May 25, 2006  
Blogger Tink said...

Good words! And what a touching post. You're right. Sometimes it's easy to forget what these holidays are for. It's easy to get lost in scheduling cookouts and getting a day off work. Thank you for the reminder.

BTW... I'm not posting on Monday. I'll have my pictures up on Tuesday instead.

12:52 PM, May 25, 2006  
Blogger Mainline Mom said...

Yeah great post. I may get to play when I get home Monday evening but if not I should be up Tuesday.

2:19 PM, May 25, 2006  
Blogger KTP said...

John,
Can you leave me the link for SPF? I never know where to find that.

2:34 PM, May 25, 2006  
Blogger Mama C said...

I thought I was the only goon for getting weepy at the Pledge of Alligence.

I'm not even military affiliated in any way, just very patriotic for some reason.

I'm playing this time.

4:12 PM, May 25, 2006  
Blogger LoriLaurieLauri said...

Wow! What a great post...you are a wonderful writer!

9:48 PM, May 25, 2006  
Blogger Kelli said...

a very touching post. Thanks for taking a minute to remind us all what Memorial Day is all about!

9:23 AM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger Marla said...

It IS a great post. I don't have the written words to say how I feel about what happens to those who serve - so I played. It's up.

3:51 PM, May 29, 2006  

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