Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day

I don't quite know how to celebrate Memorial Day.

I take that back, I'm great celebrating the day. On Friday and Saturday we ate picnic foods and had fun with friends and family. We played with squirt guns and went swimming and ate watermelon until we'd burst.
On Monday morning we sat on my cousin's porch and watched our hometown parade pass by - just as we did when we were little ones. There were flags waving and children weaving around us. When the last fire truck passed down the street, everyone went to the back yard to fire up the grill while kids played in a slip-n-slide.

Then late afternoon, we went for a walk through downtown, across the Roberto Clemente Bridge, to the kayaking rentals.

There was a baseball game, so we could hear cheering while we kayaked on river, gliding past downtown Pittsburgh.

Then we sat outside in Market Square and sipped Sam's summer ales. So yes, I know how to celebrate Memorial Day...

I don't quite know how to honor Memorial Day.

I know that while doing all those lovely pre-summer activities, in the front of my mind was gratitude. I am thankful that I have a husband by my side. That with a country at war, I'm not saying goodbye to him at a time in my life when I need him the most. I am thankful that I'm not one of the many women who understand what it means to live tour after tour.
I've been thinking of all women in our history who got the news, 'he won't be coming home'. And then thankful isn't enough to describe what I feel for all I have.

Is it patriotic or unpatriotic to question some of our foreign policies? Is it supporting our troops to oppose a war? At least that would get them home. I know its all very complex and I know that I don't know nearly enough to launch the discussion.

On a day when we are supposed to feel at one with our armed services - I realize I don't understand their lives at all.  Even a weekend that should be a reflection on our war heros - while we are currently at war - looks like hot dogs, swimming pools, and sun screen.

So I will share with you a few things that have me thinking. Things beyond an inspirational quote for your facebook. While they present mostly a feeling of confusion - I hope you can see the root of them as patriotic and supportive... or at least a conversation starter.

This is a post about veterans that I can't stop thinking about.

Here's a song by Lupe Fiasco "Around My Way [Freedom Aint Free]"

Here is a moving op-ed piece from a war vet who lost a son, sharing 'why we serve'.

I still have to say I don't understand it all. I do appreciate that I am free (as evidenced by the photos above) but I know that its more complicated than that.

I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend - if there was anything you did to celebrate or honor the holiday, I'd love to hear about it!


  1. Of course, I can relate to your complicated feelings. I saw a Tweet this weekend thanking the ones who had died so that she could pursue her dreams. All I could think was, No! No one should have to die so you can enroll in art school -- or whatever her dream was. I know that my dreams are not worth anyone dying. Is it too sacrilege to think that we too closely associate warfare and freedom? That someone else must die so I can enjoy doing whatever I want? Something disconnects for me.

    That said, people like Hitler have to be stopped for the sake of the people they are hurting. But we don't even apply that standard evenly. (See Cambodia, Rwanda, et al.) Sigh. It's complicated.

    On the other hand, Jean and I have got to do the kayaking thing soon. We keep saying we are going to do it, but we never think of it on days we have nothing to do!

    1. I couldn't agree more. I don't think I had considered it in that light before (why would it have to be a direct exchange of lives for freedom?) Thank you as always for your insight

      And I think you should make a date to kayak asap! its the best $15 I've spent (and you can see the scoreboard from the water)

  2. That kayaking looks like so much fun! I bet it was cool to hear the fans cheering in the ballpark!

    My grandfather was from the "greatest generation". He was a pilot in WWII. We were lucky that he made it home. You're right, it's all very complicated but to serve ones country is so good.

    1. Coy, my grandfather also fought in WWII - but I don't know his story at all... he would never talk about it. (I guess that's the nature of the thing).

      I agree with you in feeling so grateful for the people that make real sacrifices to serve.