When I was growing up, Memorial Day fell on the same day every year; the 30th of May. We would huddle around the radio and listen to that famous command; "Gentlemen, start your engines." The Offenhauser's would roar and the Indy 500 would commence.
It was a single day, not the three (or four - - or if traffic around the Great White Theme Park was any indication on Thursday, five day "celebration").
Thursday evening I drove past the now shuttered Walter Reed Army Medical Center and was surprised (as I am since its closing) not to see the young men (and the occasional woman) exercising their shattered bodies in the shaded grounds bordering 16th Street NW. I most recall one young man, seemingly more steel and modern technology than flesh, jogging jerkily (yet upright and proud) along the footpath - I slowed down, honked and gave him a "thumbs up." He raised his remaining appendage and pumped his only fist in acknowledgement. I'll never forget that.
Jon Talton had an excellent post yesterday. I won't repeat his disgust at the commercialization of such a solemn day of remembrance. Suffice it to say, I won't be shopping.
I'll always remember the ceremony that accompanied Remembrence Day when I lived in England. It wasn't just the ceremony at the Centopath in London's Whitehall, but what took place in almost every town and village that had a memorial to it's fallen.
Although this was written by an Australian, sung by an Irishman and about a war so long ago, I can't think of a better piece of music to symbolize what Memorial Day really means.
- They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
- Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
- At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
- We will remember them.
- Ode of Rememberance