I took a break manually updating entries from two years ago to go to the park and toss the ‘bee for a bit. What started out as a sodden day turned out better than expected. I enjoyed the weather, my time off from work and some thoughtfulness.
I had some time to kill while waiting for my friends to show up and suddenly it dawned on me that I was sitting in front of a Lakewood soldier’s memorial. I decided that since, in fact, Memorial Day is supposed to be about remembering and honoring the folks who died fighting as America, I should do so.
I made sure to read every name on the pillar and I touched the lone ‘Harvey’ on the list. For the most part I do not endorse war, it has its time and place, but it should be the very last time and the very last place and should only be waged to prevent a larger loss of life.
I do not approve of what America has done in Afghanistan and Iraq but disapproving of the decision does not mean I disapprove or revile our soldiers. That is the last thing on my mind. I’m sure many of them don’t want to be where they are and don’t agree with why they are where they are. What is important for me is the fact that our soldiers are putting their lives in the service of improving our country. So, even if they disagree with the war itself they are supported by their desire to represent America.
I’m not saying that every soldier has this sunny and patriotic feeling. But for every soldier that wars for misguided reasons there is a soldier who wars for the right ones. For every soldier that abuses prisoners there is a soldier who would act selflessly to defend a fellow soldier, civilian or prisoner in danger. Memorial Day is about honoring these soldiers and even more importantly, the soldiers whose praises are never sung, who never receive the honors due them. Most importantly, Memorial Day is for those soldiers who die soldiering.
My grandfather is the only person I have talked to with experience fighting for America. While he did not die in the service of his country, Memorial Day is for him as well. So the least I can do to honor him since I cannot visit his grave is to honor the soldiers I can visit here in Lakewood.
I took some pictures too.