Tuesday, November 11, 2014

An American Anthem for Veterans Day

I spent a couple of hours rooting around in the museum garden yesterday afternoon, shirt-sleeve weather in early November, thinking now and then of the great Armistice Day blizzard of 1940. That storm had little impact in the south of Iowa, but proved devastating farther north when conditions on mid-continent prairies and plains abruptly turned savage.

I could have entitled this post "the last parsley of summer" --- lots of that hardy green stuff still flourished in borders otherwise brown and covered with oak leaves.

I was planting garlic --- too late by weeks for reasonable expectations, running on optimism alone. This year's crop (above) was a good one; the outlook for next year's, although well-mulched,  problematic. 

Driving home late, I spotted a young mom in a t-shirt, jacket tied around her waist, pushing the youngster up Columbus hill in a stroller. This morning, it's 26 degrees outside and we'll be lucky if the high creeps above 32 for a few days.

Life in general turns cold and savage, too, sometimes --- and seasons of war are among best example of that. The constant gardeners generally are young, fueled by optimism rather than logical expectation, who serve the causes of justice and freedom, often fight and sometimes die. And today's a day to remember all who have served.

I like this Gene Scheer song, "American Anthem," performed by Norah Jones. Written in 1998, it was featured in Ken Burns' 2007 documentary, "The War." It's words characterize as well as any I've heard those who serve:

"Let them say of me, I was one who believed,
in sharing the blessings I received."

And then,

"Let them know in my heart,
when my days are through,
America, America, I gave my best to you."

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