Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Friday, May 26, 2017

duty is not a sacrifice

 We all know that Memorial day falls on the last Monday in May. This was decided, by our government, as a matter of convenience back in 1971. That was the year I graduated high school. I had heard the holiday called decoration day by the old timers. The original date chosen was the 30th of May because there was no major battle fought on that date in the civil war. The tradition did begin after the civil war. The tradition was to decorate the graves of those fallen in combat. Families went to the gravesites scattered across the land that held these veterans. The grass was cut and tended. The graves were decorated with flowers, speeches given and a picnic lunch enjoyed. It was a day shared with the deceased. With that many folks gathered in the cemeteries they naturally began to interact with each other. Eventually the day has moved from the gravesites to our backyards, beaches and recreational areas. Oh, flags are placed, taps may be played but the day isn't spent with the veterans, the day is spent celebrating. A shift in the way our society views these things I suppose. Memorial day began as a day of remembrance spent with the one being remembered. I find it sad that so many of our veterans will not have a visitor on this day. I place the little flags on the veterans I recall and speak a few words to them. I have taken up a habit of placing a flag on the grave of a Colonel Comegy in the Greensboro cemetery. Mine is the only flag or decoration I have seen on this grave and so assume no one else visits him. Perhaps no family remains close by, or perhaps he has been forgotten, lost in the family tree. Whatever the case I will remember him.
 The last Monday in May, Memorial day, the unofficial beginning of summer. I have generally lived in the northern section of the United States on the east coast. Memorial day and the beginning of the season have always been synonymous to me. Back in the day you would see the ladies wearing white dresses and the men their white suits. It wasn't proper to do so before then you know. I suspect some of the upstreet folks observed this bit of etiquette but my family and friends just laughed about it. My hometown , like so many others across America, always had a parade. There was a ceremony on the village green by the windmill and a twenty one gun salute. The later tradition I guess will go away one day soon, gun control you know. It might disturb some of these liberal snowflakes so prevalent in our society today. I heard gunshots and now I'm traumatized and terrified. I need a safe space. Well snowflake let me tell you these veterans that we honor today didn't have no safe spaces ! But I digress in my thoughts.
 It has been said that memorial day is a day to remember. Yes, it certainly is that. I would add that is a day given to thanks. It is the veterans that the attention should be focused upon, not our own entertainment. That was why the original tradition of tending those graves, decorating them and spending the day there was instituted. It was a day for them! It is often said we remember their sacrifices. I always say, it was not a sacrifice, for a sacrifice is freely given. These veterans did not give their lives freely, no, their lives were taken from them. Another soldier, fighting for his beliefs, took that life in exchange for his own. For many the exchange only lasted a short time, until the next battle, when his life was taken. To say they sacrificed their lives is a noble sentiment, but not an accurate one. As General George Patton pointed out to his troops, " the object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his. " I agree and understand this sentiment exactly. And General George also said, " It is foolish and wrong to mourn men who died, rather we should thank God that such men lived. " I concur and I believe these men deserve a visit at least once a year. So, I'll take my walk and place those little flags beside their headstones. I'll remember their contribution not their demise. Duty is not a sacrifice, it is an obligation. It is the demonstration of love for country, of home and hearth. As Abraham Lincoln so elegantly stated, these men have given the last full measure of devotion. It is fitting that is should be on the last Monday.