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Today is Memorial Day, a day of remembrance.
As our troops fight unwinnable wars
and continue to battle invisible forces on so many other
fronts, and our president visits Japan and the site of horrific tragedy caused by war, Hiroshima I sit in gratitude for my hard earned freedom of speech among other freedoms.
I cherish Memorial Day for many things, but mainly for my father who always lifted a shot of Black Velvet to the soldiers he knew in Korea. I know that even though I’m a state away, the volunteers for the Veterans of Foreign Wars inNehalem/Manzanita Oregon
are placing their little red white and blue flags on my father’s grave and that I’ll see those flags when I get to Oregon in June. I thank them, recalling how the penetrating sound of their gunfire-four-man-salute shook me to my bones and nearly caused me to fall into my father’s grave the day we buried him. I recall them folding that flag and handing it to me. I recall how my body compressed and caved in around my heart. I recall every detail and was grateful they were there to honor their fallen comrade, because I was numb and speechless. I thank them for the job they do.
When I was in LA, my brother and
I visited the Arlington West Memorial Site
that is there every Saturday at the Santa Monica Pier.
The temporary memorial is an ongoing Veterans for
Peace’s project. It’s overwhelming to stand in that sunny
place with tourist, surfers, joggers, and kite flyers going about their business and then to stop and read the names of troops who lost their lives in just the last week so they, the tourist, surfers, joggers, and kite flyers could do exactly that – go about their business.
Memorial Day is a day for writers to write their father’s stories, remember them, ask about the details of their experiences and tuck them into notebooks or short stories. Whether you agree with their politics or the reasons for war there will come a time for the writing of their experiences in the wars gone by or the wars still raging. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, so honor thy fathers, brothers, uncles and sons by remembering what they sacrificed so we could write without fearing an unsympathetic government. Write it down. Honor them and those who volunteer in their absence, today.
|Clark and I, Santa Monica Pier|
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