Memorial Day 2015

National CemeteryToday is Memorial Day in America:

A time for barbecue

A time for beaches

A time for sales

A time for sports

A time for family

It’s also a time for remembrance.

Over the past week, people have been posting images like this on social media:

Memorial-day-not-for-bbqNow, depending on how long you’ve been reading my blog, this is where I’d post something like “In Flanders Fields” or “Dulce Et Decorum Est” to represent my conflicting views of war.

However, I’ve begun to think differently about Memorial Day.

Yes, men gave their lives.

Yes, we should be grateful for their sacrifice.

But I’ve also begun to ask: what – exactly – did they sacrifice their lives for?

I don’t think those who gave their lives would want us to perpetually mourn.

After all, I sincerely doubt they held Rat’s opinion:

Humanity Stands Rudderless Pearls Before Swine
From Unsportsmanlike Conduct (p. 37)
A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan Pastis

 Yes, remember their sacrifice. But they died so we could live normal lives. So that we could hold barbecues on the beach while listening to our preferred sport on the radio with our families. Or whatever your tradition is this weekend.

@TheDemocrats took flak this weekend for posting this:

TheDemocrats President Obama Ice CreamYou know what? I have no problem with the President enjoying an ice cream.

What I do have a problem with was this being the very first Memorial Day post from the Democratic Party.

Things didn’t get much better with their second and third Memorial Day posts:

TheDemocrats Memorial Day Sale TheDemocrats BarbecueThey finally got around to thanking the fallen two days after posting that first image:

TheDemocrats Thanks 2 TheDemocrats Thanks 1Again, this is just my opinion and I understand that this Twitter feed belongs to the Democratic Party and not President Obama, but since one of the President’s roles is Commander in Chief, it only makes sense that the first Memorial Day posts would thank the troops. Maybe that just me.

All this to say: enjoy your Memorial Day how you see fit, but take a moment of silence to remember those who gave their lives for normalcy.


How can I resist sharing a poem on Memorial Day?

This year I’ve selected


                  For the Fallen
              Robert Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

 

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