Monday, May 29, 2006

Remembering

Today is Memorial Day, the day we have set aside to honor by remembering all the Americans who have died fighting for the thing we like the most about our America: the freedom we have to live as we please.

No official day to remember is adequate for something like that. It's too formal. It gets to be just another day on the calendar. No one would know from Memorial Day that Richie M., who was shot through the forehead coming onto Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, wore different color socks on each foot because he thought it brought him good luck.

No one would remember on Memorial Day that Eddie G. had promised to marry Julie W. the day after he got home from the war, but didn’t marry Julie because he never came home from the war. Eddie was shot dead on an un-American desert island, Iwo Jima.

For too many Americans, Memorial Day has become just another day off. There's only so much time any of us can spend remembering those we loved who have died, but the men, boys really, who died in our wars deserve at least a few moments of reflection during which we consider what they did for us.

They died.

We use the phrase "gave their lives," but they didn’t give their lives. Their lives were taken from them.
There is more bravery at war than in peace, and it seems wrong that we have so often saved this virtue to use for our least noble activity - war. The goal of war is to cause death to other people.

Because I was in the Army during World War II, I have more to remember on Memorial Day than most of you. I had good friends who were killed.

Charley Wood wrote poetry in high school. He was killed when his Piper Cub was shot down while he was flying as a spotter for the artillery.

Bob O'Connor went down in flames in his B17.

Obie Slingerland and I were best friends and co-captains of our high school football team. Obie was killed on the deck of the Saratoga when a bomb that hadn’t dropped exploded as he landed.

I won’t think of them anymore tomorrow, Memorial Day, than I think of them any other day of my life.

Remembering doesn’t do the remembered any good, of course. It's for ourselves, the living. I wish we could dedicate Memorial Day, not to the memory of those who have died at war, but to the idea of saving the lives of the young people who are going to die in the future if we don’t find some new way - some new religion maybe - that takes war out of our lives.

That would be a Memorial Day worth celebrating.


......Andy Rooney 2006

10 comments:

Phyllis said...

Great Post, Brenda! It brought tears to my eyes.
I didn't know you were in the World War Two!! WOW!

Brenda said...

Those were Andy Rooney's words on Sunday. I put it in quotes, dang it. LOL.

Virginia Gal said...

That is lovely - I agree with Andy's sentiments, I wonder what those men of days gone by would think of what is going on today?

David said...

Too many don't remember the reason for that day - it is just a day for a family cook out. That breaks my heart.

Mary Lou said...

I am not sure that Phyllis was even kidding!! She is Blonde you know!

Joe said...

Have a good week girl, thinking of you!

Joan said...

Well you look pretty good for someone who was in WW2. HA...

Very nice post.

Sally said...

Andy Rooney hits the nail on the head every single time. Thanks for posting his words, Brenda. I agree with him while, at the same time, I agree with those who hold memorials for their loved ones who have died in service.

Those two sisters, Mary Lou & Phyl, gosh don't we gotta love em? :)

Phyllis said...

Oh. I get it!

Leslie said...

Amen to that.