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May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Round-up

"There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval."

I hope everyone had a good and enjoyable day yesterday. It is right that we live the life for which our veterans have given so much. But, while we go about our days of dealing with the business of Life, one rarely rises to dizzying heights without remembering from whence they came lest their Icarian wings melt and relegate the flyer to a terrifying plunge back to Earth. Or, as Santayana put it, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." So, even though they cannot hear or know, we honor and remember our fallen and their families:

"Freedom is not free. And it is not cheap.

It is purchased with lives.

Lives that will not be completed. Lives that will not fill the emptiness of those who loved them, and lost them, and must live on without them.

Their families can’t even thank them. We can’t even thank them. For dying for us, even though they didn’t know us.

But they knew of us. They knew about America.

We can be cheered that their lives were not wasted. Many lives lived much longer are wasted. But dying for the greatest nation in history, for the hope of mankind – for the last hope of mankind – is not a waste.

But it is a tragedy. And it is awfully sad.

God bless the men and women who have fallen defending this country. And, dear God, thank them for us."


Bookworm remembered and honored Memorial Day as well.

"I’m not doing anything special this Memorial Day. In some ways, the fact that the day is ordinary is more compelling than taking part in a parade or attending a barbecue, since it reminds me of how good things are for me. I have a lovely ordinary life: beautiful location; delightful community (if I downplay my politics); comfortable home in a wonderful neighborhood; healthy, beautiful/handsome children; charming dogs; good friends; and a comfortable and healthy material existence.
And finally, I am deeply, deeply grateful to those Americans who made the greatest sacrifice, losing their lives on the field of battle in Concord, at Gettysburg, in Belgium, at Iwo Jima, at Normandy, and in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Without their serving and dying as the front line to defend America’s freedom, none of the people, places or things for which I am so grateful would have existed. Today may be Memorial Day, but their sacrifices are included among the blessings I religiously count every day of my life."

The Dark Side had a quiet and enjoyable day. Our meal was delicious...


...and was shared family and friends, which always makes for good conversation with lots of love and laughter in the air. We remembered those who were lost, and I honored our resident veteran with the best meal I could cook followed by VES'-made Texas brownies for dessert...


...and plenty of beer.
Gotsta have beer to make a proper toast and salute.
And to wash the brownies down with -- which are, btw, great for breakfast, too.

Posted by DL Sly at May 27, 2014 12:11 PM

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Beautifully written, Sly. I am always of two minds about Memorial Day. Frequently, I have friends who thank me for my service (small though it was), and I've had to stop telling them that this day (yesterday) is not for me. Mine comes in November, and even that one, I only barely qualify for. Five years Stateside service in the mid 1990s at a cushy desk job isn't exactly sacrifice. No, Memorial Day is for those who gave the full measure. But I've decided it's not my place to tell others what the day should mean for them. If asked, I'll tell them, but I've learned to just smile and nod, and go about my day.

And I used to also feel bad for attending barbecues and parties on Memorial Day, until I read a beautiful post on either Blackfive or Neptunus Lex's place about how we should enjoy the day. Because that's what those we are honoring would have wanted for us. And it made sense. That's not to say I don't reflect on the day, I've got far too many members of my own family who, but for the grace of God, could have been getting honored more directly (rather than in November with me) on this day. I think of my Dad and Father-in-Law, who have friends on the Wall in DC. Or my cousin who held his buddy in his arms as he breathed his last in Fallujah. I think of my great-uncles who served in Europe and the Pacific in WWII, my mother's father who served in Mexico and France under Blackjack Pershing... all these men who were in harms' way overseas and who came home. But we get to thank them in person (those who didn't die peacefully in their beds years later) in November. Yesterday is both too personal and at the same time not personal for me. And either way, I thank God for it.

Posted by: MikeD at May 27, 2014 04:49 PM

Thank you, Mike.
I have always been of the mind that, yes Memorial Day is first and foremost for those who gave all to this country of ours. However, I also know, from having been raised by one, having one for a brother and marrying one who has a brother and now his son become one, that first and foremost in the minds of those who fell were the Brothers and Sisters fighting right beside them....so they could come home and live the life that one Brother had given to the other. So, I honor and remember them all.
I do so on Veteran's Day as well, because I know who is first and foremost in your minds on that day, as well.
Thank you, Mike, for every minute of the life you were blessed with that you then gave to our country. You may think it a small matter.
I do not, for my brother was not, and would never have been, a career Navy man, (black sheep, con man, yes 0>;~})but he, too, had his Brotherhood burnished in the crucible of boot camp along with his "squidmates", and it was something that he never forgot.
I am so grateful that MH is here for me to thank and honor with the best steak I can grill. And I do so with the memories of my Pop and brother in my heart. For the uncle that never came home from Korea, and the one that did but was paralyzed in a car accident shortly after returning home. For my BIL who lost so many friends and not a small part of himself as he held his dying Warrant Officer and friend in his arms after failing to resusitate him during the Battle of Fallujah, and for his son who has already seen combat only a year into his Marine Corps career. And especially for MH who, too, gave so much more of himself than blood, sweat and tears to the Iraqi war. Because, for so many, they may have returned home, but they never really came back.
I hope your day was a blessed one. I know mine was.

Posted by: DL Sly at May 27, 2014 05:26 PM


Funny thing. My maternal grandfather turned 18 in 1915, and joined the Army, and served under Pershing (and Major Patton) on the Mexican border before going to Europe in 1917 to fight in the Great War.

And his son (my uncle, who is now 91) also got to tour Europe with 3rd Army (General Patton) from June 1944 until May 1945.

He was always a funny and irreverent guy, but his wife of 64 years passed away last fall, and now he is sometimes very sad and lonely without her. Unlike all the years I have known him.

And he is now almost alone, as most of his friends have passed too.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at May 29, 2014 12:42 PM