Monday, May 26, 2014

Reaping the Sacrifices

Memorial Day is a great day because it's about memory. And living in the present. And feeling good and feeling sad at the same time because people died for us. And when we feel good and do fun stuff we don't have to feel guilty about it because it's what they died for and would have wanted.

This morning I took one of my daughters down town to watch the parade, It was one of those perfect days, windy and not hot and the town felt clean and fresh as if the summer had not really started and that's largely because it was such a brutal winter people are wearing their tank tops and stuff but not quite believing it can be the right time for it and so being very appreciative of just the simple fact that it was a nice day and the river was running full of water you could tell below the stone bridge and the old people in the Drum Corps with the funny red hats and tassels and scarves wrapped around their too large bellies who march every year looking as immortal and nerdy as ever. Then the parade started and veterans marched by in their uniforms and then followed the town mahoots in the jeeps who came down the street waving followed by the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts and then the little league teams throwing candy. After they marched to the town hall and the little cemetery in the back and fired off some volleys we all adjourned to the bandstand to hear a speech from the high school principal, a 26 year military veteran who graduated from RPI on an ROTC scholarship, married someone from his hometown in Massachusetts and served in the two Gulf Wars before retiring as a colonel on the same day as his 16th wedding anniversary. In other words this was a man you could like and his speech was an exegesis of the Star Spangled Banner complete with facts about Francis Scott Key I did not know, such as he was a successful lawyer with a commission from the US Navy to negotiate the release of US prisoners on board the British warships blockading Fort McHenry. They released the prisoners to him and told him to sail behind their lines as they continued to bombard the fort through the night. So he watched the battle from the decks of his ship out on the water wondering whether the fort which stood between the British and the city of Baltimore could withstand the attack. I didn't know that. And the principal tied this in to questions we all have about whether our missions will succeed in life and whether the sacrifices we make will be worthwhile and remembered by others. It was a good speech as far as Memorial Day speeches go. And plus I saw a couple of people I hadn't spoken with in awhile, so there was that good feeling of reconnecting in the place where I live and liking probably almost all of the people that were there.

Thank you Memorial Day, for making us be appreciative of the need to remember.

Next week: A hike in the Minks.
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