Think / Able - and Check out My Parkinson's Facebook Page

Think / Able - and Check out My Parkinson's Facebook Page
Thanks for coming by! I appreciate it! Click the picture to follow on to my Facebook Parkinson's Page

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day: In Honor of the Dead

For many people, we tend to think of Memorial Day weekend as the beginning of 100 days of summer that kicks off this weekend and moves to Labor Day weekend in September via the Fourth of July. I think British people refer to that day as "Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way out Day." Generally, a fair bit of Americans refer to that as "Screw the Monarchy Day;" however, with tabloid and TV love for the royal wedding, we seem to have a lot more Anglophiles than we did before.

I don't think that's a bad thing. England is our genealogical birthplace (in many lives), so if that's your thing, so be it. Enjoy! I would have no problem going back to England. In fact, I'd love to see it and the castles and cathedrals. Were I living in England, I might even feel nice to the Monarchy and accept them in the way that I have accepted Oprah, who really does have a lot of good things to say (though I wish she'd body slam Jenny McCarthy to make up for having her on the show).

Yes, charity of any kind is good, so if that's what they do, then let them.

Like I said, I can't fault people for loving the UK. I loved England, but unlike T.S. Eliot, I couldn't give my love to the king and queen, so I just spent my expatriated days in England in love with a British gal and country, living out my early twenties in search of place and meaning.

Those were good days in the early and mid-1990s that made the good new days of the 2010s possible.

When I type that number, I have to remember it has a 1 and 9 in the front of the date. That's more than half of my life ago. The 19 signifies that it was a long time ago. So it goes. However, I look back and memorialize a part of my life in my own special way. I'm not going back to England again, but those days made me who I am. I'm not going back to the Air Force again, but those days made me who I am. I'm thankful for them, and while I'd do some things different, the Air Force and England aren't a part of them.

This military memory brings us back to Memorial Day. Whereas Armistice Day became Veterans' Day, a day where we former veterans go to the Appleby's and Golden Corral (instead of remembering 11 11 11), Memorial Day is a day for only the deceased soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who lost their lives in service to our country (freedom, which is something more than a symbol of this country)

For the thoughts of this day, I think of John Dos Passos' "Body of an American" and John McRae's "In Flanders' Fields." I also think of Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage to the point that it has been trumped by Joseph Heller's Catch 22 and Jonathan Shay's works regarding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5.

As for heroism in battle, there's Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. For push it beyond the boundaries military service, there's Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff.

If you want to feel enraged, there's Black Hawk Down and 13 Hours.

When it comes to patriotism, any World War 2 film will do. Saving Private Ryan comes to mind, but so do all of those old John Wayne black and whites. Than again, let me give a shout out to Mel Gibson's The Patriot... great movie. No Australian (except AC/DC) can truly define America quite like him (really).

While most of those books are fictional, if you want to see some real heroes, see the list of Medal of Honor recipients list HERE.

I would assume even the Southerners who fought in the Civil War, standing against the Union, get their due today.

Personally, I find the words of Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" sum up this day well, though they get their own day in November.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But in a larger sense, we can not dedicate we can not consecrate we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here.
It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that 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 shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

So enjoy your picnics and praise those who served and shuffled off this mortal coil, but remember that only the dead get memorialized today.

Anything else is stolen honor.

No comments:

Post a Comment