Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day, 2010

What does Memorial Day mean to you?

For Me, it means remembering those who went before me.

My uncle Sgt. Doug Phillips, who was killed during the Battle of The Bulge.

My uncle Sgt. Ernest Burnett, who drove the first tank into Rome.

My oldest brother, "Un-Named Baby", who lived for two days after his birth in 1936.

These are the graves ... and memorials ... which my mother has visited every year for at least the past 65 years. She has brought flowers to their graves, and quietly wept over them, for a long as I remember.

The local VFW post has found old men to fire rifle salutes to them, every year, for as long as I remember.

And my family has honored these, the young men who we have lost in war and peace, for as long as I remember.

The weren't Brave. They weren't stalwart. They were just mountain boys who came when they were called, and died -- or lived -- as fate decreed.

They left behind mothers, sisters, wives and daughters who have never ceased to mourn them.

They left behind brothers, nephews, sons who took them for their role models and quietly, uncomplainingly, followed them into battle in defense of their country, their culture, their way of life.


For others, it means 'other things', such as this:

But I do not believe that it means more to Oliver North than it means to me.

My mother is 93 now, and for the first time in over a half-century she is too ill to travel 400 miles to the family grave-yard. It has been her practice to quietly honor her son, her brother and her uncle.

I did not go in her place.

But still I honor my son, who has pledged his life for the honor and safety of his country.

My only wish is that I am not called upon to decorate his grave.

Still, if it is necessary, I know that he will defend his country to the greatest extend needed.

That makes me sad. In truth, I care more for him that he should be called upon to give his life for his country.


I begin to understand, a little, the things that my Mother has been saying for these many years.