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Memorial Day 2009

Here we are at Memorial Day itself.  Per the Governor's directive, the flags will fly at half-staff until noon, when they will head back up the pole, "to honor the men and women of the US Armed Forces now serving."

In a very real sense, it was a good year.

We did far fewer memorial posts this year than past years at the Castle.

They're gathered here, In Memoriam.

But we have a few to add.  Mom, of course.  It's in living memory of my mother that daffodils are planted all around the Demesne, by the house, in the fields, in the woods.


Mom's Daffodil

The Auld Soldier's sister, my aunt, Mrs. Elaine Langford.

And, as always, 2nd Lieutenant Leonard Cowherd III.  An early casualty of Operation Iraqi Freedom who touched an old friend of mine, Tony Cerri, who's daughter was married to Leonard.  And the saga of the Cowherd's and the Cerri's is the reason for the holiday.

Lieutenant Leonard Cowherd in the TC hatch of his Abrams in Iraq

I don't mind the sales. Commerce built this country. I don't mind "Going to the Lake" - having fun with family and friends makes life worth living. And this day is about having a life worth living.

And I know that most of us (though not perhaps those who read this space) have no memory of a loved one lost in war. Many of the younger of us don't remember or never knew a relative who served in time of war.

Have a good time. That's the point.

By living your life, planning your future, you redeem the voucher that those who have answered the Last Call for the last time bought for you.

Their service was *all* about the Capital F Future.

Just by living our lives, and taking an interest in what goes on around us, we pay that debt. We can pay it ahead by keeping an eye on those who commit us to war. And recognizing that avoidance for avoidance's sake is as bad in its way as rushing headlong and blindly into battle. Truly, in this arena, the answer lies in the middle, not at the extremes.

But.


BUT...

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Whatever else you do with your free day - Remember Them. It only takes a moment. But Remember. They are not truly gone until we forget.

For some of us, the true meaning of this holiday doesn't come into focus until we, or someone we know...

Hears The Knock.

Attends The Funeral.

And Bury Our Dead.

This is why today is Memorial Day.

Click here - and Remember.

This is an open post - if you have posting privileges and wish to add to it - please do.  If you don't have posting privileges, feel free to link, or simply remember, in the comments.


First update: Fascinating project using Google Earth - Map the Fallen.  H/t, Old Gaijin

Second update:  Memorial Day in pictures.  Skip past the politicians and take a look at the everyday Americans honoring the fallen on Memorial Day.  Might restore your faith a bit... - FbL

11 Comments


The Fleet AW memorial. We're a small community, AW's, only been around for about 40 years. Every loss hits close to home. I knew several on this list. One was a great friend.

God bless them all, and all who gave there romorrow's for our today's.


  http://www.tourohio.com/fleetaw/memorialintro.html
 
Well, I can say that my fire department marched in our towns parade today. Along the route we stopped at the various war memorials, threw a salute while the band played taps.  At the town cemetary we laid wreaths while the bands played and volleys were fired in salute.  

We don't forget.  We never forget.

 
 And they, who for their country die, shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier's tomb, and beauty weeps for the brave. ~Joseph Drake
   
I shall also remember over the waves.  They bought our Future too and should not be forgotten.
 
My parents took my boys to visit the gravesites of my grandparents, both WWII veterans.  They shared a beer (ok- my parents; not the boys!) with my grandpa, and a piece of gum with my grandma (she used to chew only a half a stick at a time).  New flowers were laid, as were flags.  They also went to see the grave of one of my brother's friends, an Air Force veteran who died about a year ago from Gulf War Syndrome.

Me?
I was with Keith, at his family reunion, where we honored those who have fought, and died, for our freedom during the blessing of the meal.  I also wore my Memorial Day t-shirt.  It is black, with images of the Iwo Jima memorial and the Korean War memorial on the front, and the following on the back:

There are only two words than can describe Memorial Day:  Thank you.

And it's true.  Thank you.
It's a message I'll repeat for the living on Veteran's Day.
 
AW1 Tim

Thanx for the URL.  Does this have even the vaguest connect with _The Guardian_?  Gotta check that title, xin loi if I've confused it.

AFSis

Where'd ya get that Tee?  Is it available with different Wars/incidents/whatevers?

All, I guess.....

I've been wanting to see _Taking_Chance_ ever since I knew it was being made into a movie (Google it).  Stopped by the video store after having paid my respects at the Truth or Consequences Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and took a turn thru the TorC (yes, they call it that) Veterans Home.

Anywho, the local vidstore _had_ Taking Chance, so Cateyes (my better half) and I watched it yesterday PM.  I was already familiar with the story, so my bad hearing only affected my understanding of the story line a little.

Wonderful movie about a great story about an escort's trials and tribulations before and during his mission to "Take Chance" home.

It's a true story, I recommend it to all.

What??????   Say whut??????   This isn't the movie review list?

Wellllll, isn't that a fine howdedoo?

Best wishes to all

LaMigra
 
Ummmm, probably not much connection there, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0406816/, was about the Coast Guard.  Both helicopter crews but otherwise....well, I'll let AW1 clear me up on the diffeence, if he so chooses.
 
Lamigra-
I don't even remember where I got the shirt, unfortunately.  I've had it for a while now.
 
Lamigra,

      Both the Coast Guard and the US Navy maintain rescue swimmers for Search & Rescue (SAR) functions. On every Carrier, there is always 1 helo standing off and acting as plane guard in case of an accident.  Every base usually has one available or on standby as well, 24/7.

       The AW rate was originally designated as "Aviation Anti-Submarine Warfare Operator" in full, and shortened  to AW, as all Navy rates are of 2 letters (and occasionally 3). Those in the rate operate sensor systems aboard fixed wing and rotary wing platforms, including sonar, radar, ECM/ESM, FLIR, LLTV, etc.  However, the AW's also have a collateral duty as rescue swimmer, and when not engaged in primary work, are tasked to the rescue swimmer function as needs be.

      There aren't that many AW's in the fleet, so when any are lost, it's felt by everyone.  The memorial I linked to was for those we have lost over the years. One of my best friends is on there, as are others I knew. 

      Memorial day is always the hardest of holidays for me. Sometimes it takes everything I have to go out and attend the ceremonies, to do what needs to be done to honour all those men and women whom we have lost.  I do it for them, so that they will be remembered, and thus still remain alive, because we all owe them so very much.

 
Navy and coasties used to go through the same school but durring a hurricane  in 2002 the original schoolhouse was destroyed and the navy/coasties went thier seperate ways. I take a certain amount of pride in being one of the last swimmers to graduate from the pensacola schoolhouse.

Bibbo was the first friend I lost, in the line of duty, a classmate in RSS (Rescue Swimmer School). Orchard, and Barajas are not on the list as they technically didn't die in the line of duty(flying) but thier loss stung just the same. Now 3 more names have been moved to the bottom of the muster-sheet under "Gone but not forgotten".