“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in America when men were free.”
― Ronald Reagan
Hey y’all. It’s been an age. I suppose I just needed something of a break from pouring it out but today is a good day to check back in because it prompted a great talk with my mom last night and she had a rather remarkable take on Memorial Day that I wanted to share here.
But first, read this because Jazz provides a great reminder of what the day is about and why it’s okay to enjoy your time off and spend it with a light heart. And while he points out that veterans will tell you today is not about them — it is a day for remembering those who fell in battle — mom takes a different approach and I think it’s a cool one.
We were chatting last night about her father, a WWII marine who survived the war but, like so many others, lived with the demons of what he had seen and had done. “Remember when they came down for Christmas before he died and he apologized to you all for the times he appeared angry at you when you were children because things would come back to him at odd times? He told me once he went to confession to ask the priest if he could be forgiven for killing. It was something he struggled with the rest of his life.”
While she understands that veterans may correct you for thanking them today with that awesome tendency toward humility so many of them exhibit, she says it’s absolutely fine — and maybe even vital — to remember those who have seen war and survived, because they carry the memory of the parts of them that died on the battlefield with them every day. So keep those men and women in your hearts and thoughts as you enjoy the day. Your respect doesn’t have to be overt. Just have it and they’ll know.
Mom’s pretty cool, huh?
Anyway, I’ll be at a baseball game doing the most American thing I can imagine. And to those who answered the call and paid the highest price — my eternal love and thanks. I plan on reading this to get a better grasp of what moves you.
Now, two from Branagh.
“Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered…”
“You tread lightly there.”