Saturday, May 26, 2007

Stay out of Wal-Mart this Memorial Day Weekend

Praise the dead on Memorial Day

The following two paragraphs speak volumes about what we should be remembering on Memorial Day. They are from an essay published for Memorial Day, 2006, by Southfarm Press. The book is Good Night Love, Copyright 2006 by Dudley C. Gould (ISBN: 978-0-913337-56-1).

"I praised the dead I knew personally and as my admiration grew, it dawned on me that the earth is full of soldiers in such numbers as stars in all galaxies; young soldiers gone under the earth to uphold the living, losing their lives that others might prosper unthreatened; quitting life far from home, slipping unknown, unhonored into the deep river of time flowing darkly along.

"The surface of the earth, except where snows lie year-round, is strewn below with the bones of exhausted soldiers savaged and bled. Gettysburg is the mass grave of my great-grandfather’s beloved drummer-boy son, who, as they used to say, died in the Glory of the Lord, and it’s well-known how the Western Front in the first world war turns poppy red each spring from blood of soldiers in the ground—ne funestentur, defiled by death. It did anyway back when people cared. Once there was a day set aside for remembrance, limping veterans selling red paper poppies on Armistice Day. There is no more Armistice Day and poppy vendors hobbled away long ago."

Reconsider how you spend the day before you drive off merrily to a Memorial Day sale at Wal-Mart.---Walter Haan,


Blogger Walt said...

Indeed, Walter.

My local paper, the Daily Mining Gazette in Houghton, MI, ran a Memorial Day promotion headlined “In Loving Memory – Memorial Day Remembrance.” Typical of how Americans have completely lost sight of what this day is all about, their promotion seems to have far more to do with making a few more advertising dollars than honoring our fallen soldiers, sailors, and airmen.

While it might be touching for local residents to remember their loved ones who are no longer with them, Memorial Day was established and is officially recognized as a tribute to the men and women who served and died in uniform.

I noticed that the DMG ad put veterans last on its list of remembrance candidates. Shame on them.

As a reminder of the importance and significance of Memorial Day, President Clinton (whom I hate to quote about anything, but still...) issued a White House memo on May 2, 2000, that clearly states: “Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to securing our Nation's freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day.”

President Clinton went on to direct all federal departments and agencies to “promote a ‘National Moment of Remembrance’ to occur at 3 p.m. (local time) on each Memorial Day.”

Far too many of our important national days of remembrance (e.g., Washington’s Birthday and Veteran’s Day) have become diluted with department store sales and marketing hype rather than solemn contemplation.

The National Commander of the VFW noted in a 2002 Memorial Day address: “Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”

With so many of our youngsters still fighting and dying in godforsaken corners of the world, we need to keep Memorial Day sacred by preserving it as a national day of remembrance and mourning for those who gave all for us.

Walt Shiel, Lt Col (USAF, Ret)

8:01 AM  

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