Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day 2020

It always seems weird to me that a festive occasion should be called “Memorial Day.” The purpose of the day is to pay tribute to the men and women of our armed forces who have given their lives for our freedom. There is a national cemetery near my home and every Memorial Day American flags are posted in front of all the tombstone. It’s a startling sight – endless rows of matching white gravestones with American flags. When my kids were teenagers they helped plant the flags.

Having served in the Armed Forces Reserves, I've always considered myself incredibly lucky that I didn't have to fight in a war.  Back in those days we were drafted.  And it's all the more reason to give thanks to our current military personnel.  Not only are they there putting themselves in harm's way in awful hellholes, but they volunteered.

And this year is even weirder because traditionally Memorial Day signals the beginning of the summer season.  But most of us are still hunkered down at home.  I see all those people on beaches and the protesters and I'm reminded of my friend, Tom Straw's line for what they should write on their protest placards:

                                  Give me Liberty AND Give me Death 

There will be no summer traveling, no summer camps, no summer stock theatre.  But when you consider the sacrifice our servicemen are making -- not to mention the first responders, medical personnel, and folks providing essential services to keep this country even limping along -- all we can do is express our extreme gratitude to those brave men and women.  And that's what this Memorial Day is for. 

Thank you.  And stay safe. 




13 comments :

slgc said...

Amen!

Ed from SFV said...

Today, at least, we know their names.

Kirk said...

Well put.

E. Yarber said...

I broke quarantine Friday and would encourage anyone to join me in my folly. The last time I was able to donate blood was in January, and plasma stocks have been dwindling since then. After cancelling a couple of false starts, The Red Cross was finally able to set up protocols for a drive, with distanced tables and everyone in masks and gloves. The turnout was understandably sparse, but I felt I had to contribute something given all the effort doctors and nurses are making these days. I was especially touched to find teenage volunteers handling non-medical aspects of the operation like checking in donors and stocking the snack bar. The kids loaded me down with Oreo mini-packs as I staggered off for the Blue Bus home. All I had to do was bleed.

Mike Barer said...

I'm just as guilty. Thank you for including our brave healthcare workers.

Anonymous said...

Ken, said perfectly, as always.

blinky said...

It sucks to realize that 40% of americans are narcissists who are convinced that their personal freedom is more important than other peoples lives.

Troy McClure said...

If only they had a Commander in Chief worthy of the title.

Mike Bloodworth said...

A few weeks ago while I was standing in line at the Burbank Wal·Mart this came to mind.

As a child of the Cold War I remember hearing the stories about the desperate people behind the Iron Curtain having to wait in long lines just for the chance to purchase some basic necessities such as bread, meat, toilet paper, etc. Even then, by the time they got up to the front of the line the store might be out of whatever they came for. Sound familiar? A rather ironic coincidence don't you think?

Along those same lines, whether it's the "Patriot Act," politically correct censorship or closed parks, it's difficult not to wonder if our brave soldiers have died in vain.

M.B.

Cap'n Bob said...

Festive occasion? Memorial Day ought to be sober and introspective, a time to remember the ultimate sacrifice given by our service people.

VincentS said...

Amen.

kcross said...

E. Yarber, I applaud your suggestion of us joining in on your folly, but I’d recommend calling the donation center to see if they really need it when you make the appointment. I’ve donated for years, and had an appointment for the week after things shut down. I hadn’t received the normal “blood supplies are at a critical level” email, so I called to see if they really needed it at the moment. I learned that they didn’t because people were not having elective surgery at the time, and they couldn’t really use my donation. (I think freezers are in short supply where I live). I rescheduled my appointment for a month later, called beforehand, and again was told the blood supply was fine. I suspect that the need will increase soon now that things are opening up, but I’ll still call before my next appointment.

It is a really good thing that you are doing, it is something we can do to help out, and, at least in my area, all of the proper protocols are in place.

MikeN said...
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