A decree by Gen. John A. Logan on May 5, 1868
‘Every generation has a moment where they have had to stand up for democracy. To stand up for their fundamental freedoms. I believe this is ours.
That is why I am running for reelection as president of the United States.’- President Biden 🇺🇸
#ProtectDemocracy - Vote Blue 🌊
Greg, with love for your children and ours and your beloved nation, your warm heart feels that which most have forgotten. Or never knew. Georges Santayana speaks to silence. To us. We must rise now, now, to educate ourselves and our children. Ignorance and fear motivate prejudice. Fascism is contagious. And spreading. Ukrainians know, and they are dying for us all. Our Republican friends are lost in hatred for and fear of those different. Some of us love differences. Others simply fear differences. Children must learn to love, not hate, differences. Sameness can be boring. Almost tiresome. Differences among people are exciting.
What are the significant differences among people? Was an ETS topic c. 1955; written exam to reach the college of choice..
Count me among the many who never heard of General Order No. 11. But thanks to you, Greg, I do now. None in my immediate family were/are in the military. When I commemorate Memorial Day, it is with a certain amount of guilt for not being a part of that Gold Star "club" of affected military families. I never thought of it as a privilege before but as you point out, it certainly is. So, again, many thanks.
Also, I agree; last Friday night's Five/8 was fantastic! Happy Anniversary, Prevail and Five/8!
Somber thoughts and well crafted thoughts Greg! I’ve lost many a friend in war, continue losing them daily through the results of depleted uranium weaponry, burn pits, and the psychological damages that wars have inflicted.
The deaths of millions of innocent civilians, displacing of their war torn cities and communities, also weigh heavily on my thoughts every Memorial Day.
This Sunday post, like others, reminds me of the costs of ignorance, greed, and the injustice of a country I’m still saddened being a part of, damn!
Fabulous 5-8, and after hours show this week, aside from Stephanie’s Musk like connection issues, enjoy your new Honda Civic!!
Great tribute to those lost in war and the need to remember their sacrifice. I cannot believe that war criminals/mongers, like Kissinger, still walk freely among us!
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."
Excellent, Greg! My father-in-law was a WWII veteran. He arrived in Normandy two days after D-day as a supplies sergeant. By the time I met him he was in the throes of Alzheimer's. But he would tell me the story of his time in France every time I would see him. Even Alzheimer's couldn't take that away.
Being slightly older than Greg, I also fell into a quirk of history in that military conscription was canceled a few years before I turned 18 in 1976. I was relieved and grateful, to say the least. I knew then, as I know now, that I would surely have died in Vietnam, and I suppose be one of those being remembered this weekend. I was definitely not made for going to war and would have failed miserably at it.
My dad fought in Korea, the unending conflict, in the Marines. It took me several years to balance what I knew of him, a kind and gentle man, with the stereotype of a 1950s Marine. I never succeeded. I was never really able to picture my dad as a US Marine fighting in a war, despite the pictures we have and the fact that he was married to my mom in his uniform, with several also uniformed Marines as his best man and ushers. He even had a USMC tattoo that, over time, became a blue blotch on his arm. Tattoos are MUCH better now, and certainly more colorful!
I also had an uncle, who truth be told, turned into kind of an asshole later in life, who was a Pearl Harbor survivor. Up until the last year or two of his life, he returned to Pearl Harbor for anniversary memorials. Oh, how he HATED the "Pearl Harbor" movie from 2001, as much as I suppose a real survivor of the Titanic would have hated James Cameron's magnum opus. (Avatar. Pffft. Please.) In fairness, no one is ever going to be able to capture what war is like on film, unless they've been there, and even then, it must be sanitized.
As a once proud American -- and the gods know it's not the country or the former spirit of America that has caused me to lose pride, it's some of the people -- I would love to be able to fly the flag more than on national holidays, but Republicans and their Patriot Cult have taken that away too. Now, if you fly a flag more often than on national flag-flying days, you're liable to be labeled as part of that cult. I know I do it. They've even made "patriot" a dirty word. It's a shame. So, I brought the flag out on Friday, changed the light display colors in the front windows (don't ask) to red, white and blue, and spent some time pondering what it means these days to be a true American, actually PROUD to be born in this land of the free, and not say, France. The country, on the whole, is still great. No need to be trying to make it great again unless you're an old white man (I am) who longs for the days of Blacks being "in their place" (I don't), women being in the kitchen (I certainly don't!), and a United States that is the "land of the white man" (NO, thank you!). Was it Hillary that said, "diversity is our strength?" She may not have been the first to say it, but it's absolutely true. So, this Memorial Day, don't forget to also remember people of color who have fought and died for this country, a country that in some cases, wouldn't even consider them as the heroes they are.
Around Chicago, they seem to push Toyotas and mattresses this time of year. I assume they're not related, but there it is.
My maternal grandparents had five of their sons and daughters serving in WWII around the world. One was lost in the Battle of the Bulge and is buried in Belgium. A cousin of mine was able to visit his gravesite and I like to think it was on behalf of all of his family. I was only three when he died, but I grew up cherishing his memory.
Thanks again for cutting to the chase with some facts and figures… they tell a story of sac rice for a nation diverse yet not permanently divided… even after internal strife and a war.
As a combat Vet, I sometimes suffer from survivors guilt. Why did I get to come home? I’m blessed to enjoy the freedoms and responsibilities of our democratic Republic.
I don’t “Have to” honor those who sacrificed all for our nation; I “Get to!”
And I’m grateful for much. 👊🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🙏😇
Although I’m a Vietnam Era veteran, I, too, have a hard time mustering any personal grief over the war dead. None of my ancestors, as far as I know, served in the military. My maternal grandfather served a prison sentence in WW1 for being a conscientious objector, and his younger brother died in the same prison for the same offense. My nine years of active duty in a cushy desk job, all served in the American Deep South, began because I had little choice—there was a draft back then—and ended with my serving out a commitment incurred by accepting a Masters Degree as a paid duty assignment. I don’t know a single person who died in Vietnam. My life experiences served to teach me very well what I’m supposed to feel.
Greg. From 1960 to 1963, I was a Boy Scout. Every Decoration Day, our troop marched from the courthouse to the city cemetery. Upon arriving, we planted small flags on the graves for Civil War Veterans. I was the troop bugler playing taps. Thank you for beating our drum for Democracy and flying the freedom flag. My Dad was wounded on the beach at Iwo Jima and I was drafted in 1969 for two years. Spent one year in Vietnam. Life is good. I can still read!
When the series of guns went off at my father’s graveside funeral all the fantasies about him in WW II fell away. After several men in uniform fired rifles, it was very formal, they folded a flag and handed it to my mother, who wept. She never allowed me to see her cry like that. But she wept, holding that flag in her lap. Uncontained but stiff. At that moment I felt I hardly knew either of them. But it was ok, they were going to be taken care of here. This military guard made it possible for me to finally stop trying to imagine the few vivid war stories, awful ones, he shared in that completely calm level tone, saved for those stories.. Those guns at the cemetery by those young men in uniform, were incredibly loud and shocking. My father had dementia when he was old and sad. But he wasn’t always like that. He was handsome in his uniform but I think that official photo was taken before all the bad stuff happened in Africa, Italy, The Battle of Monte Casino. The cemetery told me they put flowers out for thousands of soldiers buried there. They couldn’t send me a photo of the grave. She met him in NY after he got out of the army. They are buried together in this huge Oklahoma Fort Gibson Cemetery among this special category of people. Oklahoma has several of these cemeteries. It’s not like I think they are actually there of course. But something about them happened I really didn’t know I wasn’t a part of until that graveyard cemetery. So intense. But I’m afraid to go back. Actually I’m afraid I’ll go and it will be a lot of grass and I won’t feel anything.
We've always celebrated Memorial Day as the start of summer holiday but were also made well aware of turning our thoughts at least part of the day to reflection and honoring our lost. I came from military families - my dad and his brothers served in the Navy and my mom's brothers were in the Army (and did not speak of it, but that's another story for another time). Luckily for my family tree, all came home. Most moving and memorable was the loss of my husband's father, who was MIA in North Korea in 1950, and declared KIA several years later. His remains were returned to U.S. custody in 2002, he was finally identified and accounted for in 2015, and was buried in Arlington in 2017. He is my constant reminder every year that every servicemember lost is someone's son, daughter, father, nephew, cousin, and is irreplaceable. We owe them all. I hope you have a peaceful Memorial Day, Slava Ukraini.
Very moving, thanks Greg.
Although I am a dual citizen (US and Canada) I was born and grew up in Canada. Memorial Day is not celebrated in Canada, which honors its veterans and the fallen on Remembrance Day, known here as Veteran’s Day. The poppy, crossing a number of national borders, is the symbol worn by many to remind us of those who gave “the last full measure of their devotion.” It was a Canadian physician, Major John McRae, who penned the famous poem “In Flanders Fields,” while serving in WW I and that immortalized the flower. Although I was never in the military, some in my close-in family served. My father couldn’t serve in WW II having been rejected by both Canadian and American armies. But my mother was one of over 4,000 nurses in the Canadian Army and spent 17 months in a casualty clearing station in Belgium and then the Netherlands. (Canada’s population during WWII was only about 12 million.) One of her brothers was a navigator in a Lancaster bomber. He was the only one to survive his plane being shot down and spent 4 years as a POW in various German camps. Her youngest brother was a private in the Canadian army. In one letter to my officer mother that begins “Dear Sir” and closes with “Respectfully yours,” he details how he captured an Italian—chicken. All of this to say, that for me, Memorial Day is a second opportunity reflect on the service of those who served and, yes died, to preserve and hopefully advance the precepts enshrined in so many documents, including the self evident truths of our own Declaration of Independence “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.
Let me respond in my ninety first year with a memory that has sealed Memorial Day for me long term.
The year is 1942. As a ten-year-old cub scout, I marched with my brother through Pitsburgh's South Hills in the annual district parade two miles to a section of Mount Lebanon cemertary, where local Civil War veterans lay buried. There, a ceremony was held to honor them, as at the foot of the platform sat three living veterans of that war. Other details I forget, but I still remember gazing at those aged veterans in total fascination with their bronze medalions hangind from their necks and red-white-and blue ribbons over one shoulder. Leaving me now with this regret. Close enough to approach them afterwards from where we sat, had I the presence of mind, I could have offered a handshake, or even ask a question of one, but I didn't. What an honor that would have been for me, and maybe even for him.
Now, at approximately their age then, when with some rare opportunty to interact with a child then at my age, say as I make my way with my walker at such a public gathering as a Korean War era veteran, with a service connected disability, I would feel honored to have him or her shake my hand and talk to me. While I respond modestly when someone thanks me routinely for my service as folks now do, I would be delghted to have a young kid ask what it was like to be in the military back then. Such connections should be better preserved than they currently are. Decoration Day, as we called it back then, isn't just about picnics or mattress sales.