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Memorial Day 2014

[Since traffic will be light over the weekend, what with all of you out there doing the three-day weekend thing - I'm putting up the Memorial Day post today.]

Here we are at Memorial Day again.  The eleventh since these ramparts were erected here in cyberspace.  Per the Governor's directive, the flags will fly at half-staff until noon, when they will head back up the pole.

It was another mixed year here at the Castle.  .

We did fewer memorial posts this year than past years at the Castle, a good thing.

They're gathered here, In Memoriam.

There is always  Mom and Dad.   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

There is the Memorial Chapel in the Woods in honor of Preston.

Piddler's Green has too many new residents.  Schroedinger, Little Orphan Annie..., the un-named kids who were born premature and didn't pull through.

And, as always, 2nd Lieutenant Leonard Cowherd III, the Castle's Avatar of the Fallen.

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.  Len is the Castle's Avatar for Memorial Day.  He captures the youthful potential cut short in service beyond himself.

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 Buries 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.

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

 

7 Comments

Well said, John.  May we never forget.

 
 
"Thank you!" to all that have served and those that are serving. And a speical grattitude to those that have fallen in fighting for our freedoms. My family will remmber you!
 
On Memorial Day, and on the 5th of August, the anniversary of his death, I remember a man I never knew. He was my 5th Great Grandfather and fell in action at the Battle of Hanging Rock, SC in 1780. Captain David Reid was a member of the Mecklenburg County Militia and engaged in an action with Tarleton's Legion and other Loyalist troops. His grave is unmarked, but probably lies in Steele Creek Cemetery in Mecklenburg County. One of those who paid for our freedom with his life.
 
My family has been involved in every conflict fought in this country. I have no idea how many died in the fighting, but I do know one, my mother's older brother, was killed at Chosen Reservoir in Korea, 1950. I never met him, but the family home had many pictures of "Junior" from high school and his time at LeJune before Mr. Kim thought he'd throw his party.

LCpl Alvin Reid is still remembered.

When I was in OCS we were ordered to stage a parody of a military funeral for a roach found in one of the buildings. The Cadre wanted parents to attend and my mother said absolutely not and that I was welcome to quote her. I thought it was tasteless and silly. We had to give an "Aviator's Funeral" to any dead moth or fly found in the barracks during Warrant Officer Candidate flight school, but that was punishment and not parody.

We dodged the bullet in Vietnam, desert storm and Iraq and am thankful. My son was the one in Iraq and the gooks were getting a mortar set up to send a few into an impact area that was my son's camp. A routine patrol caught them and sent them to meet Allah.

My father was a USAF REMF in Korea and he died in 1990. My maternal Grandfather was in WW1 with the 42nd Division. A Paternal Uncle who was a Corpsman with the 1st Marines on Gudalcanal died of Cancer in the 80s.

Memories. I guess that's the biggest burden of growing old.
 
 The Crossing of the Melfa River, 24 May 1944, PIATs were used:
legionmagazine.com/en/2008/06/bridgehead-on-the-melfa-army-part-76/

Cheers

 
May we all find peace, and comfort, and not too many idiots.
 
I rember my grandfathers and an Uncle.
Marion W Batts: Although he was part of a non-combat unit during WWII, I never knew what he was talking  about as a kid when he would say "flying the hump". It wasn't until much later that I actually broke down and looked the phrase up. My grand father was part a flight crew and C-47 mechanic and made the flights often. He was a SFC and told me that he often flew the planes himself, even though he wasn't an officer. He stated that as a mechanic he knew the planes better than the pilots.
He passed away July 1986 he loved planes! The C-47 had a special place in his heart and he also spoke fondly of the P38.
Wilber (Morris)Padgett: The 5th son of my great grand mother to go fight during WWII. She made the news for being a 5 Star mother. My grandfather was sent to England in 1944 after being trained and told he and his unit were headed to the Aleutians. He said they were told they were no longer needed there and England needed help. His unit (Combat Engineers) was part of the D-Day invasion. They followed Patton across Europe until the end of the war. He then worked with graves registration for a few months after the war.
He admitted in his later years that he may have suffered from PTSD, but that was unknown then, and you sure as hell didn't say anything about it with Patton at the helm.
He came home and ran a dairy farm, married and had two sons. Both were drafted during Vietnam one (my dad) retired from the Army in 1994. The other servered as a gunner as a Navy SeaWolf. He had won 37 flying crosses. said he had more coming to him, but getting the hell out of Vietnam was more important. He had a diabetic seizure while driving. He hit a tree at 70mph and didn't make it. Sugar and a tree did what the Viet Cong couldn't despit their best efforts.
My grandfather lived to bury his oldest son.
My grandfather passed away 2011.
I miss all 3 men dearly and would give most anything to be able to sit with them a talk again.