On Memorial Day, I always wonder what I’m doing with my life that is worth the price that has been paid for it.
Those things which are precious are saved only by sacrifice.
–David Kenyon Webster
The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem.
–Rev. Aaron Kilbourn
Perhaps Memorial Day seems like a time to put flags on old headstones and remember our grandfathers and great-grandfathers. It’s not. It’s about remembering the sacrifice made by very young men to preserve our country. Day by day, year after year, we send young men into harm’s way and not all of them come back. Here’s one of the most recent ones.
“Sgt. Edwin Rivera, 28, of Waterford, Conn., died May 25 at National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., of wounds sustained May 20 when his unit was attacked by enemy forces using indirect fire at Contingency Outpost Xio Haq, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry, Norwalk, Conn. He is survived by his parents, his wife and two children.”
We cannot repay their service, we cannot do or say anything to ease the loss to their families, all we can do is remember.
They shall grow not old,
as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we will remember them.
Here’s what he should have said if he want to tell us the truth:
“Look, I’m a politician. I can’t be responsible for what a private business does, any more than I can be held responsible for a hurricane. I don’t have any idea how to stop the leak. I couldn’t even crawl up under my limo and point at the drain plug on my oil pan, so I sure don’t have any idea what the problems are, or even what sort of equipment it would take to go a mile underwater and then work on an oil leak. The government is totally dependent on private industry, for skills, personnel, and equipment, to deal with this crisis.
It’s a big mess, and I’m just sorry it happened while I was President. If this had had happened a couple of years ago, I could have gleefully blamed Ol’ Georgie Bush, but now I’m stuck with it. I was slow to face this, but now I have my game face on, and I’ll be traveling to the Gulf region to stand on the beach and look grim and concerned for the cameras in the next few days.
There will be a very expensive and not very successful effort to clean up as much of the oil as we can. We’ll make some new rules and you can bet drilling companies will be more careful, but sooner or later, there will be more drilling, because the entire world economy is based on oil, and it’s going to continue to be for the foreseeable future. We need that oil, the whole thing collapses without it, so a spill, no matter how big, isn’t really going to change anything.”
That didn’t happen, of course. Instead we got this.
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
— Thomas Jefferson
Not a day to remember the veterans. That’s Veteran’s Day. This is a day to remember the dead. The young boys that didn’t come home. The mothers and fathers that got a telegram or a knock at the door. The rows of orderly stones in Arlington that tally up the cost of our freedom.
When I was a boy, there used to be a Memorial Day parade. The Gold Star mothers rode in antique convertibles, followed by the VFW, with all of the Scouts in uniform behind them. We marched through town and up to the cemetery, where a speaker said things I cannot remember.
What I do remember are the flags and the music, and my mother explaining that the older ladies riding in the cars were the mothers of boys that didn’t come home. I remember it still.
I think they would want us to have fun, to live our lives and enjoy the gift they gave their lives for. So enjoy the long weekend and the beginning of summer. And take some time to remember.
All we have of freedom, all we use or know, this our fathers bought for us long and long ago.