Monday, May 30, 2011

It's Memorial Day in America

"It's Memorial Day in America....Y'all be sure and drive slow."  Sage advice from Mr. McMurtry.  If yours is a journey requiring you to migrate north on the Garden State Parkway at some point this afternoon or this evening here in the State of Concrete Gardens, then you might find yourself having no alternative but to heed his words.  For on the Parkway, on a holiday weekend, slow is but one of two options.  Stopped is the other.

If we put on our Caps O' Metaphor for just a moment however, then perhaps we can open our minds to the possibility that the plea to slow down addressed not merely all things automotive but rather all things about this day.  We the people of these United States have long equated Memorial Day with summer's arrival.  There is not a damn thing wrong with doing so.  However, we cannot permit to be lost in all the hoopla about blockbuster movies, backyard BBQs and four-day work weeks the reason why this day exists on the calendar. 

People have died for this nation prior to its existence on any map.  From the American Revolution forward to present day, we have been blessed to count among our number men and women who have been willing to trade their lives for the enduring freedom of all Americans.  Consider that for a moment.  The willingness not only to die so that your loved ones might live but to die so that countless people you will never meet - including at least some who you would not like if you did meet them - can live.  And not simply live but live in a nation that - for all of its flaws and foibles - makes a better, more legitimate run at providing an environment in which all of us within certain limits and boundaries of course have the right to live freely. 

Ambrose Redmoon once wrote, "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."   Today we honor the memory of all of those whose selflessness took from them the one thing they had about which they had an innate right to be selfish:  life.  At some point late this morning, our little town's Memorial Day parade will pass right by our front door.  The Missus and I shall be among the throng gathered to stand and cheer in appreciation of the members of the American Legion and the VFW as they march past.  It is not an exaggeration to say it is the least we can do.  Our debt to them will never be paid in full.

So nigh is grandeur to our dust, so near to God is Man,
when Duty whispers low, "Thou must", the Youth replies, "I can". - Emerson

....and a grateful nation thanks you for it.

It’s Memorial Day in America
This is how it’s supposed to be
Let’s remember our fallen heroes
In the land of the free.

-AK

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