Monday, May 25, 2015

"Memorial Day 2015"

I've got a little American flag.  I think a firefighter gave it to me on the Fourth of July.  I am basically a sixties kind of a person.  Plus, a less than chauvinistically-conditioned Canadian.  But I took the flag anyway.  Because it means something to me.

I have not abandoned my generic difficulty with warfare.  And, though this sentence is likely destined to find disfavor, I do not entirely exonerate the warriors.  "What if they had a war and nobody came to it"?  I mean, I am aware there is something intrinsically unworkable about the idea.  Still, you know, I mean, what if they had one and nobody did?  I mean, shouldn't they at least try it?

The thing is, however, two Marches ago, I was at Normandy Beach, where the Americans landed on D-Day. It gave me the chills.

People fought and were wounded and died at Normandy Beach.  And because of that, Normandy Beach will forever be sacred to me, the sacrifices of the participants, heroic and real.

With that in mind, on Memorial Day, I remove my little American flag that sits in the penholder in my office and I take it downstairs and outside, and I plant in the garden bed that is in front of my house.

In memory of people who behaved in ways I am not sure I ever possibly could have.

And you know what?  I never thought of this until right now.  Canadians soldiers also fought and were wounded and died on D-Day, whose anniversary is only a handful of days away.  I have a little
Canadian flag sitting in my penholder as well.

I think, this year, I will plant both of them.

It's an American holiday.  But you know what?

I do not think the Americans we are honoring today would mind.

By all means, take advantage of those Memorial Day mattress sales.

But think about setting aside a moment to remember what this is about.

A thoughtful Memorial Day to everyone.

And a respectful salute to the fallen.


Pidge said...

You can add Dieppe to the bloodbath for Canada....a 1942 massacre where our soldiers fought bravely, even before the US joined the fight. We were also there at Juno Beach, near Normandy. A lot of Americans think nothing happened until they finally got into the world wars, but there's a little monument on Vimy Ridge that commemorates Canada's vast contribution to the cannon fodder of insanity of WW1. The history books praise that sacrifice as the event that finally made Canada a country! Hmmmm.
I still can't believe that people are taking holidays cruising the rivers of Vietnam! On purpose! Haven't they seen "Apocalypse Now"?

Wendy M. Grossman said...

That's a very late-1960s question: I'm all in favor of people not dying in wars.