“(W)hen you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you. . . you may know that your society is doomed.” Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged (October, 1957)
And a second from a contemporary writer I am not yet familiar with:
“There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order.” – Ed Howdershelt (A reference to Stephen Decatur Miller, September 1830)
Reading these two quotes from different times, I find the image above so powerful on this holiday. While the image was taken to represent honoring those lost in the most noble of causes, it could equally be of our frustration over the limbo we find ourselves in currently between Mr. Millers’ boxes, our gathering of resolve to rise from this position with all the fury of a fallen superhero in some Hollywood blockbuster. Or it could be seen as us presenting our current state of affairs on this, their day of honor, to all those who gave their all, all the way back to our founding fathers.
This Federal Holiday in the USA was established for remembering those who died while serving in our Armed Forces. Currently celebrated on the last Monday of May, it originated in 1868 as Decoration Day after the American Civil War, when the Grand Army of the Republic established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union’s war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day was eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. Arlington Cemetery is the centerpiece of the official ceremonies. Did you know this was General Robert E. Lee’s home before he left Washington to take command of the Confederate Army? Was it taken as a punishment that has now become the focal point of our honor? Your call. Okay, that ends the history lesson.
This is a day to remember, reflect and honor those brave men and women. And the moments of silence, the reflections would, I suspect, bring them no more joy than the laughter of our children and the friendship of family and friends at our picnics and our gatherings. I believe THAT is why they were willing to step up, to preserve the hope of a nation that they knew as family and friends and community.
God bless them every one.