Memorial Day has become the sales and barbecue extravaganza that kicks off the summer season here in the US.
And it has also, erroneously, but with good intent, become a day for much ‘support our troops’ and ‘honor our veterans’ rhetoric. But that’s not what it was established to be. It was established immediately after the US Civil War, and was originally called Decoration Day. The purpose, then as now, was to honor our war dead – and up until the time of World War I, the southern US states did not use that designated date to honor their own Civil War dead – they chose their own separate dates (& some of them still have separate dates to honor those killed in the Civil War). After WWI, the purpose was intentionally changed to honor all American soldiers that were killed in any war, anywhere. Far too high a number. And sadly, one that keeps on increasing as men of power continue their own quests to maintain – and extend – their power. War, for the kings and presidents, has never been for any ideal – that’s only what the young men, and women, sent out to battle are led to believe.
We should all enjoy the holiday – because we are here, and we can – but we should also never lose sight of what it really means, either.
In “Flanders Fields” John F. Prescott
Image from “McCRAE, JOHN,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 14, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed May 24, 2015, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/mccrae_john_14E.html.
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” — Epictetus
Sometimes we all need a little reminder.
Photo looking northeast from the Walkway over the Hudson – Nov 1, 2015
“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
— Lao Tzu
As expected, a weekend of visitors – some expected, some not – has left me, late on a Sunday, unprepared, and so this post isn’t quite what I’d had in my head, but no matter – I will eventually get caught up, and get this month’s #1000Speak post written, and possibly some others that are floating around my head.
And so, I am instead sharing these words of wisdom from the Tao Te Ching as a reminder to myself that everything will be fine as long as I don’t get caught up in what is not fine now.
My Mother’s Day gift this year was a morning spent playing with high performance cars on a real track. I had a great time, managed not to make a fool of myself, and even got a nice lunch out of it. My husband came along to watch so he got the lunch, too. I think he would have liked participating better, but he didn’t really like the price tag. So we will finally go hot air ballooning when we go on vacation this summer, I think, since it will only be the two of us this year, because he’d much rather do that…
But all of that driving left me tired, and disinclined to write a serious post. This weekend promises to be a busy one – houseguests are coming for the weekend – so my Sunday post, which was to also be my monthly #1000Speak post, may not work out as planned, either. But it’s all good. Que sera sera. C’est la vie. It is what it is…. and any other appropriate variant.
In the meantime, I hope you all have a peaceful weekend. And I leave you with this thought about time from Martin Heidegger:
“Temporality temporalizes as a future which makes present in the process of having been.” — Martin Heidegger, Being and Time
“We are now forming a republican government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.”
Alexander Hamilton, Constitutional Convention, June 1787
It seemed like a good time to dust this quote off. Our government was created as a Democratic Republic primarily try to minimize the impact of extremist views, which are a risk in a true democracy, and to thereby protect the rights of those in the minority. It seems like out polarization keeps getting worse – what we need, and do not have, is both a president and a congress that are willing to work together – dare I say compromise – to unify the country, in stead of actively promoting the divisions.
Alexander Hamilton image from http://www.biography.com/people/alexander-hamilton-9326481
To all of my friends, family, and extended family – mothers or nurturing fathers, and everyone who has helped guide someone younger than yourself – I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day, and leave you with this thought on motherhood from Oprah Winfrey:
“Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.”
Image of summer flowers from http://all-free-download.com/free-photos/flower-images.html