28 May, 2006

Meditations for Memorial Day

Meighan Adamouski, wife of Army Captain James Adamouski, receives a
folded flag from Lieutenant General Richard Cody, during a funeral service
for Adamouski at Arlington National Cemetery, April 24, 2003. More here.

As of this evening, I haven't yet been able to pull together my recently wandering thoughts and scattershot emotions enough to make a proper Memorial Day post. I wander from thoughts of military poseurs to Haditha to those for whom Memorial Day is a painfully personal holiday. Somehow it isn't sorting itself out in my mind yet.

But there's a lot of good stuff out there that is worth reading and contemplating this weekend. I'll add to the list if I find more I like, then try to post something worth reading tomorrow. Start here to learn how it all began, then please check out the following:

Memorial Day 2006 - The Notification at Argghhh!
There will be a key post each day through Monday - that chronicles how Memorial Day suddenly, sadly, explosively, numbingly takes on a wholly different texture for military families during a time of war. All of these posts will be long. But however long it seems for you, it's way too short for the body in the casket and a never-ending ache for those standing around the grave site... This is a great country. And this is just one proof. This is the price of freedom, hope, and the fight for the future.

Iraq War Widows Seek Strength Amid Loss at Associated Press
Here are sketches of some of the wives whose soldier husbands were killed in Iraq, and the complex changes they felt after hearing simple words — "Ma'am, we regret to inform you ..."

Memorial Day at Winds of Change
Always as this time of year rolls around, I remember them; the ones who left the paper trail I followed between the present and the past. These people were real to me; I would recognize their handwriting at once. Their quirks of spelling, the references to the novels they had read.

On Memorial Day at Knight-Ridder
We are a nation at war this year, just as we have been for the last five years since the terror attacks on innocent American citizens on Sept. 11, 2001. We are at war, but who among us knows the true cost of war, and who pays the price?

The answer to that question is, of course, our living veterans of wars.

Confront Your Shame and Honor the Heroes at Tigerhawk
When the heroes are draftees, we can honor them for having risen above the misfortune of their low draft number. They lost the lottery, and still they thrived. The draftee is not different from us in the choices he made, he simply made the most of his bad fortune. We imagine we might have risen to the same challenge.

Take Back Memorial Day at Military.com
This morning I opened the paper and a series of circulars spilled onto my lap – bright, colored pages with bold fonts and frenetic language: “Now through Memorial Day only!” and “A Don’t Miss Memorial Day Sales Event!” As I took a deep breath and gathered up the pages that had spilled to the floor, at once it struck me: We owe more than commerce to those who sacrificed the balance of their lives for their country. It's time to take back Memorial Day.

America Doesn't Forget!
at One Marine's View
I think about the warriors from past battles Inchon, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and wonder if they felt the same as us during this Memorial holiday. A time you let the faces of the warriors past stay a little longer in your immediate memory and stare at them and remember them. Here one minute and then gone so quickly the next, its incredible that they are gone. They were just here.

Arlington at Fuzzilicious Thinking
My mind was filled with consideration of what made this memorial site so special and powerful and worthwhile, why the sentinels were so careful and precise. I think that in part it is because this devotion to impeccable ritual and perfectionistic self-discipline is a gift to those who have fallen... to those whom we cannot honor by reading their names or telling their stories to our children. So we selected this beautiful spot overlooking our nation's capital city and offer a representative piece of ourselves, sentinels of total devotion who will ensure that though they are "known but to God," we do know of their sacrifice, we are grateful for it, and we will always remember.

Memorial Day 2006: Yes, In My Name at Some Soldier's Mom
After the deaths of so many of Noah’s unit last year (here, here, here, here, here, here), Memorial Day will never be the same. And after the grief of The Funeral of Spc. Tommy Byrd, the tears I shed on this and every Memorial Day will be hotter and will burn my cheeks deeper than in years past. The playing of “Taps” will stab at my heart and the National Anthem will never sound sweeter nor be more bittersweet. No, Memorial Day will never be the same.