Memorial Day

I’ve decided to kick the Monday Rune a week down the road because today is Memorial Day in the USA.

My mother still called it Decoration Day even long after 1971, when Memorial Day was declared a national holiday. If you want some good information and background on the day, click HERE.

On this and every Memorial Day, I hope Americans remember what it’s factually all about. It is a day of memorial, a day to honor and remember people who died in service to the country.

Saying happy Memorial Day is inappropriate, but curbing that gets more difficult every year as more people lose sight of the purpose, which I consider unfortunate, if not sad. While it may never be incorrect to thank a veteran for their service, this day is about the dead, not the living. Veterans Day in on November 11th each year and it is totally correct to say happy Veterans Day, which is also a national holiday.

There are entire vet organizations set up for exactly this purpose: to get it right on Memorial Day. While there is a lot of hoopla, sales, and military prominence on this day, the purpose is still to memorialize the dead. I hope we don’t forget that.

 

I realize it’s Veterans Day (no apostrophe), but it is not my meme and it gets them message across.

Poetry: On Being a Veteran

I chose to go into the Air Force,
twice,
and to stay long enough
to eventually be told,
“your service is no longer required.”
So, with that, I promptly retired.

I joined up. Some call it served.
I’ve never been thanked for joining,
only for service,
a word with twenty meanings
as a noun,
five as a verb, and five more
as an adjective, where I fit in;
but not in the three more legal terms
nor most of the twelve listed
as kids definitions.

My service included my promise
to kill millions of them
should they undertake
to kill millions of us, as we
would both destroy more than
half the planet in the process
of a world-wide Armageddon.

My service was learning
how to do that and fully
intending to do exactly that!

It was my sworn duty to protect
and defend the Constitution, and,
as I understand it, still is because
I have not been released from
that oath, and, technically,
I’m still on the payroll.

I struggle even today with
being anti-war, but if
there is one,
I’d rather not miss it.
If a deed needs to be
done to protect and defend,
and if I’m still able, let me
stand in line to join up again,
with others, willing to kill
and maybe to die for
some vague idea which
so few of us seem
to correctly understand.

Don’t thank me
for my service,
or for your freedom,
or for any sacrifice
by my family or me.

Thank the Constitution
for that. Or, better yet,
if you can do for your
country, which is the idea,
join up in a way
that suits your person
and your conscience.

As I watch the guards, I notice they march both ways.
There are no gaps.