The word, “memorial” means to preserve memory. Most of us seem to forget the underlying meaning and thus fail to hold in honor many of the ideals associated with the day we set aside as Memorial Day. Our music coordinator, Becky Hill, remarked yesterday as we planned the music for the Memorial Day celebration, how hard it is to find just the right music. She stated, “The meaning of the day, to me, is somber.
Here’s Jefferson’s thought in his letter to William Stephans Smith;
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants.”
In my preteen youth, there were parades in the little towns of our county and surrounding area. I can still hear the martial music, the marching soldiers, and sailors, the wounded, with a shirt sleeve folded up and pinned at the shoulder. Men are marching as well as they could on crutches, or pushed along the parade route in wheelchairs. Some, were wholly or near insane from the torment of war, gassed in Europe, or tortured in Japanese POW prisons.
The point of the pomp and circumstance was to burn the terrible price of liberty into the minds and hearts of the watchers. The Gold Star in the window of Joyce’s Grandmother’s home was a somber memorial to the heartbreak of this dear mother whose only son paid the Supreme Sacrifice in New Guinea as WWII ended.
The images associated with Memorial Day are myriad, and each is gripping in one way or another. The Holocaust images still cause a nearly uncontrollable urge to turn away our gaze. The scene is horrible. The film of the Bataan Death March brings revulsion to the fore. Even the Mushroom Cloud over Hiroshima causes a pause; it represents the blood of the tyrant. The most moving image of War, thus Memorial Day to me, is the one attached to this article in some venues.
Arlington National Cemetery is the backdrop and the young widow of a fallen Patriot, lies prostrate, weeping upon the grave of the fallen warrior.
The annual celebration of Memorial Day brings to my heart a longing for the day when we gather down by the riverside, beat our swords into plowshares and study war no more.
Copyright © 2018 Larry Lilly
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