Monday, May 26, 2008

On Memorial Day

I don't remember, now, where the parade formed up. It probably wasn't at the high school because that was west of town and the parade moved from east to west, through the 'downtown' area and then to the street on which the cemetery is situated.

The parade ended at the cemetery. At the foot of the statue of the Civil War soldier erected by the proud members of the Grand Army of the Republic when they were old and prosperous.

The soldier depicted by the statue was young and vigorous. As its sponsors once had been. As the men represented by the names on the side of the monument had once been too.

This was the early 70s. The high school chorus closed the program at the cemetery with a song by The Association, from the album Insight Out. The song was "Requiem for the Masses."

I have an uncle in that cemetery now. He lies waiting for his wife to join him, or for the Last Trumpet, whichever comes first. When he was in the last stages of his final illness, he summoned the strength to go see the Tom Hanks movie, "Saving Private Ryan." My uncle had gone into France on D-Day Plus One -- something I never knew until I heard about his trip to see that movie. I knew he had earned a sergeant's stripes, but I had never known more than that.

I don't know if they still have a ceremony in that cemetery every Memorial Day; I don't get out there for Memorial Day anymore. I'm sure, though, my uncle would enjoy it if they did.

In a couple of hours, we'll have our Memorial Day parade here in this neighborhood. I always go.

I didn't have to go anywhere in the 70s. The lottery ended around the time I turned 18; there was no more draft. I'm not complaining. And I'm not forgetting.


Sarge Charlie said...

Saving Private Ryan was an excellent movie, I have watched it three times and cried each time. Your uncle was a great American, we must not forget.
My father was in the Navy during WWII in the Pacific for the duration.

Dear Lord, lest I continue in my complacent ways, help me to remember that someone died for me today. And if there be war, help me to remember to ask and to answer “am I worth dying for?”~

Shelby said...

It's good to remember. We should all do that.

Liked Sarge's prayer.