Tuesday, May 31, 2016

On Memorial Day in the evening ...

Flags already had been gathered by Boy Scouts and others from veteran graves as the sun was going down Monday, but the big flags that had flanked the route from main gate to the Grand Army of the Republic section for three days remained in place.

There had been a brief downpour --- in my neighborhood at least --- after a warm and sunny day; clouds were rolling overhead and the quality of light, shifting from one moment to the next.

Chariton doesn't have a formal Memorial Day program. I like that, as a Vietnam veteran and as a veteran, too, of too many programs and too many disconcerting Memorial Day addresses.

I remember a service many years ago at Rose Hill Cemetery in Thompson when a gust of wind ripped the speaker's notes out of his hands just as he was beginning and scattered them across a soybean field over the  north fence. There was a collective and audible sigh of relief.

Sometimes, silence is far more eloquent.

It's useful to focus on individuals --- very real people, mostly men and mostly young, who died while in service to their country. To remember that their deaths were hard and painful --- and that they would have preferred to live.

All we can do for them now is to learn something of their stories, repeat their names and remember them with respect and gratitude. And do our best to live ourselves in ways that honor them.


Unknown said...

Thank you for this! I miss my Grandma so much!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the wonderful post and pictures. I miss my grandma so much!

D. Ray said...

This is one of the most beautiful and appropriate Memorial Day tribute messages I've ever read, or heard. Thank you.