Monday, May 30, 2011

On Memorial Day

I think that many holidays contribute to my feeling just a bit lonely. Another holiday is past and we completed another one without important family members. The holidays mark time and are reminders of things missing. In the US today, it is Memorial Day. When I was a child, this was very clearly a somber day in which families remembered the sons, brothers, uncles and fathers they lost in wars and conflicts. I can remember my parents driving through a small town when I was a child and seeing a Memorial Day parade, while down the street, a brunette woman was sitting on her front porch nearby sobbing as if her heart would break. I must have been about seven, and I remember the large cotton flag hanging from her front porch and her face as clearly as if it were yesterday.
The memory of many Americans is not as acute as it was in the nineteen seventies, and although those who have lost loved ones in recent wars still seem to remember Memorial Day for what it is, it seems to have become a barbecue day for many, and the beginning of summer. For us, May was Daniel's birthday at the beginning, and Stephanie's birthday near the end. We were mindful of Memorial Day, but we have not lost anyone who has served,so it has been less personal to us than to many.
I have often said that people cannot compare their pain, though I think they can share it.
We have lost our son and we don't know exactly why, just that he is gone from Earth. We were present so we know something about what transpired, Once again, I did not lose a child on a battlefield, or not have full information about what happened, or whether he was in pain or alone when he passed. My hell, has been a hell I will weather. I am aware of so many different losses and circumstances of losses, and I am grateful not to be living those as well.
I have always been cognizant of the fact that freedom is not free. The people who founded this country spent personal fortunes, risked their own and their families lives, and risked and sometimes spent their own lives to serve this nation. I am thankful for that. Like many nations, it has tarnished since its founding. There is freedom here, but it works both ways. There is freedom to prosper if you are lucky, and to starve if you are not, yet this is freedom nonetheless. As much as I disagree and complain concerning our present regime, and its domestic and international ideas and policies, I do believe in, and appreciate the founding principles of this nation. There is no perfection here. No complete justice or complete freedom, but the guiding principles which founded this country were good ones, and many of those who live here try hard to be good people, even in a world where many people do not.

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