Saturday, May 27, 2006

"In Flander's Fields"

"hey, Monday's a holiday. Memorial Day."

"oh yeah. Cool. Wanna do a BBQ or something?"

"ok. maybe catch a parade, too. there's gotta be one around somewhere."

"Sure. I love parades. Or if it's raining, we'll just catch a movie."

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard among the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from our failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

-John McCrae

Memorial Day Weekend, 2006.

I have a tender heart towards soldiers. As a matter of fact, I can't watch a parade without feeling a lump in my throat at the sight of the veterans, some elderly enough to warrant the backseat of an official vehicle. Whenever a gold star mother climbs the podium to say a few brave trembly words, it's all over for me.

It does our souls a heap of good to remember, and we don't do it enough. Personally, I need to up the ante. My favorite family has been watching documentaries about WWII this month as part of our history lessons, so I have stashed away some thoughts about remembering. In my parent's day, it was standard for schoolchildren to memorize this poem. It is quite time-consuming to commit words to memory; to carve them on our hearts like script on stone.
But at times like this, our human emotions crave a task to feel we have paid our respects, saluted, observed, and remembered. Pondering a bit of immortal verse enough to recite it at the dinner table seems a small token of our gratitude.

Then, in the lobby of P&C, you could accept that red paper posie with a knowing smile.
And say thank you from the bottom of your soul.


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