Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Memorial Day

Decoration Day

A time to remember those who gave their lives in military service during wartime defending the rights of others.

War. Daunting term. One I had to learn, accept and process early in life. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting at the dinner table, watching Dan Rather reporting from the jungles of Vietnam. Watching the protests against the war. Trying to understand rhetoric from both sides at a very tender age.

War. It was a constant part of our family vacations, in a very gentle, curious form. As we loaded into the family roadster and took off to visit kinfolk and see sights across the South, there was always a page or two in our AAA TripTik detailing the way to a Civil War battlefield. Kennesaw Mountain. Ft. Sumter. Manassas. Appomattox. Petersburg. Vicksburg. We saw ‘em all. As a tweenage girl, this was not my idea of exciting and I did my level best to at least feign some interest. Kind of. It helped if there was a gift shop in the visitors’ center. The battlefields were just places I read about in my history books – the details of the battles was just information to be learned and regurgitated on a test. Seeing them up close and personal – not thrilling.

That changed somewhat after I read, for the first of many, many, many times, Gone with the Wind. War now had a face for me – albeit a fictional and historical one. When we would drive through middle Georgia on our way to Atlanta, I’d look through the trees and try to imagine soldiers on horseback patrolling or fighting.

In relation to the way modern wars are fought, it seemed so primitive. But maybe that’s war in its purist form without a lot of bells and whistles.

The beginning of the end of war lies in remembrance.
~ Herman Wouk

True confession: I’m not crazy about wars or the reasons given for fighting them. That’s just me – your opinion may, and probably does, vary. While not a technical pacifist, I do lean that way. I’m the girl who once hummed “Give Peace a Chance” while at an air show at our local Air Force base. Again, your millage may vary.

I’d like to think, in my very idealistic fashion, that disputes can be solved with discussion and compromise. But grown-up me knows that’s not always possible, always the case. War is war. A necessary evil. It’s a tricky wicket, this war thing.

Over time, I’ve come to the realization that wars are part of the human condition – it was a war, in fact, that was a catalyst in our country being created. And why I can speak my piece in peace, freely without censorship. Why we still can enjoy our many, plentiful freedom blessings. And I don’t take any of those lightly or for granted.

I am, above all, a team player. And my team is that of my country. As David Puddy once famously said, with his face painted in the colors of his fave hockey squad “… gotta support the team.” And so I do. To the best of my ability. I love my country. Very very much.

I’m thinking about our team, composed of brave men and women, who are doing their thing on shores far away on behalf of our country. It’s not an easy job – the one they’ve been tasked with. It’s tricky and complicated and very dangerous, sometimes with a fatal outcome.

So today, on a day deemed as a time to remember those who gave their lives in defense of rights and freedoms and solutions, we pause to ponder. And say a most earnest and indebted thank you. Regardless of whether we agree with the involvement, the people who lived it first hand are more than worthy of our appreciation, care and gratitude.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!
~ Maya Angelou

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