Thursday, May 24, 2007

Memorial Day

This year Memorial Day will be celebrated on Monday, May 28. I’ll be celebrating, or should I rather say, paying homage to our lost soldiers on May 30th. This has been my tradition since 1990. This had been an old tradition that I somehow had lost over the course of the years.

Today I found the following file on my computer – it was dated 5-28-1998.

“Many Americans celebrated Memorial Day last Monday, May 25th, the official government holiday. I was invited to a picnic as well as several Bar-B-Que and Swimming Pool parties. I declined, telling the hosts that I was too busy preparing for my move to Florida. I should have told them the truth.

First of all, I'm not too fond of the fact that the government has changed the dates of certain Holidays to create 3-day weekends. This was supposedly done to decrease Government employee absenteeism (and/or non-productivity) on the day after a holiday falling on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The bottom line is that the employees that would be absent or non-productive are now that way on the Tuesday following the holiday rather than some other day of the week. Slackers are slackers!

Memorial Day, also known as Decoration Day, was established in the late 1860's to honor those who died in our Civil War. The custom was to decorate the graves of those who gave their lives for their country. Later, the 30th of May became a day of commemoration for all American soldiers who had died.

As a child growing up in the 1950's, I recall seeing parades and going to the cemetery with my Dad. There were no picnics, no parties and no department store sales. It was a day that was set aside to honor those that had served their country.

I've been fortunate enough to not see the carnage of war first hand. My Mother’s father fought in WW I. My Dad, as well as his brother, saw action in Europe during WW II and my father-in-law saw WW II action in both the Pacific and Europe. Somehow I was spared the agony of losing a close friend in battle. They were not so lucky.

Until eight years ago, I too, went to picnics and parties on Memorial Day. Like many others I had forgotten why we celebrate this holiday. On Wednesday, May 30, 1990, I decided to visit The Wall (Vietnam War Memorial) in Washington, D.C.

I'm not really sure why, but I felt compelled to go there. I spent about 20 to 30 minutes searching for a name, any name, of a person that I knew. As I touched the Wall, my knees began to tremble and tears poured from my eyes. I had never in my life felt a feeling such as strong as this. The names of so many men from my generation who never had a chance to live their lives, to see their children grow to adulthood or to enjoy the freedom that they were fighting for.

On Saturday, May 30th I plan to visit the RU-8D ASA Memorial at the National Vigilance Park at Fort Meade, Maryland. And, I will once again weep for guys that I never knew.”

I once again cried when reading my words from 9 years ago. I will cry again on Wednesday! As well as we all should.

For those of you that will be going to Picnics and Pool Parties this coming Monday; I ask that you take a moment of your precious time to honor those that died while serving our country and those that served in the military to assure our freedom.

And then do it again on Wednesday.

The Beach Bum

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Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

We have a parade in Norwood Park on Monday. I'll be watching, as always. Because it's important to remember what the day is for. Even if it did get moved from the 30th.

Thu May 24, 02:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you remember , remember my brother Alvin L. Long, WO4 US Army, ASA....he flew in the RU8D's in Vietnam....
Also remember Lloyd Evans, killed in action on July 18, ole high school buddy....
Remember Verone Jackson, I killed this kid with morphine in 1968, he was shot all to hell, face shot off, and asked me to do this...
YOU have many buddies who will help you remember these "buddies" my brother.

Thu May 24, 08:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You use your mouth prettier than a $20 whore"

Taggert, BLAZING SADDLES, 1974

Thu May 24, 08:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zazz, the images in the video touched something inside you, something that makes you well up with tears; we each have that which touches us and brings the flood of emotions and tears – if we don’t, we are not really men. It is something different for different people, that brings the tears. It also depends on the mental or emotional state that we are in, sometimes it can be a stupid TV commercial that triggers something inside me, other times something as simple as a sunset. And part of it has to do with age, most of that which touches me today, would not have done so 30 years ago. But whatever it is, it is personal and not necessarily shared with any other particular person at any particular moment – but it is good to have this heart and this release. Here’s to you my friend, may you live to shed many a tear. - Harv

Tue May 29, 03:29:00 PM  
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