Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day

A friend of mine brought up an interesting point on his blog. America does little to honor our soldiers on Memorial Day, a day that is purposefully set aside for the commemoration of our soldiers. It makes me so mad. I have several friends who are either over in Iraq or Afghanistan, on leave, or getting ready to go over there. Josh is over in Iraq for two years with only a two week leave. Why does America persist on considering Memorial Day simply another day off work?

Apparently, Memorial Day hasn't always been on the last Monday in May, though. Fronm 1868 until 1968 it was observed unofficially on May 5th. Then General John Logan got Congress to make it a national holiday on May 30th (chosen because it was the only day that a battle was NOT fought on). However, shortly after it was celebrated for the first time, Congress moved it to the last Monday in May to create a three-day weekend. In a 2004 Memorial Day speech, the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) stated that:"Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."

I find it difficult to believe that Americans can treat this day like any other. Even as I write this, American soldiers are DYING defending this country. Even if they don't believe we should have entered into this war, they should at LEAST respect the soldiers and what they are doing to keep this nation free. I know that we wouldn't be here today if it weren't for our soldiers. If it weren't for the brave men that we had during the Revolutionary War, who stood up and fought when all odds were against them, history and this country as we know it would be severely altered. If it weren't for our soldiers in the both WWI and WWII, all of Europe would be completely different from what we know it to be today. We need to be congratulating and remembering our soldiers sacrifices, not forgetting their memory.

Carl Klang sings the song "I Am The Unknown Soldier". Carl rewrote it for music from a poem written by Patricia O'Grady Parcells. She wrote the poem for her father who is POW/MIA. Patricia has visited Vietnam twice attempting to find her Father. I thought it would be fitting to end this blog with the lyrics to that song. This song is dedicated to all the POW and MIA soldiers.

"I am the unknown soldier
Some call me M.I.A.
Some say I can't go home again
Some say I chose to stay
I am the unknown soldier
who you refuse to know
A brother and a friend of yours
Who left so long ago
Some call me P.O.W.
The one they left behind
I am the unknown soldier
The one they never tried to find
I'm the one they never tried to find

I'm a farmer from Missouri
The soldier from St. Paul
I was the hero of my family
And still my pictures upon their wall
I'm a poet and a scholar
And the boy who lived next door
I am the unknown soldier
Forgotten on a foreign shore
Long forgotten on a foreign shore

I was someone's lovin' daddy
I was someone's pride and joy
I was someone's tender lover
A worried Mama's little boy
And if you should just forget me here
Then I should forget you too
Please won't you try to bring me home
For I'm someone who belongs to you
I'm still someone who belongs to you

I am the unknown soldier
With no more tears to shed
I'm just a fading memory
A part of the living dead
My country has betrayed me
Yet I have forgiven you
And every night I pray to God
That somehow he'll forgive you too
Yes even somehow he'll forgive you too

I am the unknown soldier
The one for whom you cried
That familiar face that you can't face
The one your country told you died
I am the unknown soldier
With dreams you'll rescue me
And I am a man who understands
Only death might ever set me free
Only death might ever set me free

I am the unknown soldier
And I'm black and blue and grey
I said I am the unknown soldier
And I die slowly every day
And I'm tired and I'm hungry
I am the unknown soldier
The one you bought and sold
I'm the one you bought and sold

So lay down close beside me now
And gently stroke my face
And wrap your arms around me now
Before we leave this place
Some called me P.O.W.
Some called Me M.I.A.
Some say I can't come home again
But I will return someday"


Sophie said...

It makes me sick (almost literally) to see how the people our soldiers die to protect mock and belittle their job. May God bless them, and may He keep them safe. I love them and am thankful for their sacrifice. I, too, have friends serving in the military. I have had friends or family serve in every war since the founding of this nation, and I pray my posterity and friends will continue serving.
Thank you for honoring our military. Have a blessed Memorial Day as we commemorate our soldiers.

Anonymous said...

I honestly can't stand the fact that so many people don't honor our soldiers. It's like everyone says "Oh, if it weren't for them, we wouldn't be a free country," "What would we do without 'our boys'," "I pray for our military everyday," and then when a (what should be a) national holiday comes around, a true chance to honor the military, everyone says "Others can honor them, I have to make money," (a.k.a work), "I'll think about them," or "Isn't praying enough?" (warning, that was a general statement. i understand some people simply can't get off work, and others maybe weren't taught the meaning of pride, love and loyalty to the country they live in...but that's the parent's fault [another general statement])
Sure, praying helps, but my goodness, can't you take one day to rest, pray, thank God, and celebrate the sacrifices made so that you could freely chose your trade, believe what you want to (or rather, worship God), have good living conditions, be with your family...have a family...speak your mind (occasionally a bad thing), etc.?
I dont really come from a "military" family. Papa (daddy's side) was in the Navy, and a few people from mom's side of the family were in the Navy or Air Force. There's not military photos on our walls. Thanks to God we don't have to worry over a family member in Iraq. But I still have a deep running pride in America (as warped as it's become), and a loyalty/love to our soldiers that I couldn't possibly explain. I can't describe to you how much it frustrates me that people either don't see or don't care.

Ok, I'm done. :)


(btw, if o'neill reads this, that picture you posted was nice. i'm assuming it's all family?)

michelle said...

thanks for reminding me to pray for those guys.....our heroes.....somehow, even when they are over there risking their lives for my life, I don't even take the time to pray...thanks for posting this