A soberingly long list.
Here dead we lie
Because we did not choose
To live and shame the land
From which we sprung.
Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young.
— A. E. Housman
even more sobering though: the list for Vietnam, for WWI, for WWII, for the Civil War… and on and on…..
Thanks Carl, I like that one a lot.
What do we owe these people who gave so much?
I think that we owe them more than grattitude. First, we owe them sterling charactors so that we can make the most of our freedoms. Second, we owe them the dedication to the cause for which they died. This is in two parts; first, the idiology of our country (freedom and what maintains it), and second, our families, schools, churches, and other American institutions.
In honor of those brave souls who gave all, I pledge to do and be that which truely honors their great gift. Yes, they have my grattitude, butthey have earned more and shall have it from me.
I know of no other way to show them proper respect.
Somehow the only adequate response seems to be poetry. Each day in my email, I find new Department of Defense press releases naming more casualties. I try to say a quick prayer for them all.
Anyway, one more poem for Memorial Day:
NAMING OF PARTS by Henry Reed
To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
And to-day we have naming of parts.
This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.
This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.
And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call it easing the Spring.
They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For to-day we have naming of parts.