Arlington

In this pandemic world we seem to be increasingly focusing inward – the risk to us, the inconvenience, the job losses, and annoying rules.  It’s a strange time as the world adopts new habits – new ways of thinking.  The narrative is shifting.

But there are things I hope we never lose.  Monday Memorial Day.  Many Americans just treat it as a day off.  This year it means I won’t be logging into the office so it will seem odd to have a holiday.

Sadly, I’m not seeing many people discussing Memorial Day.  Our usual activities won’t be happening.  There will be no gathering at the cemeteries, no bands, no flags, and I fear no remembrance of the price paid by so many of our sons and daughters.

My father served in WWII as did many others. He never saw combat and lived well into his 70’s.  When he died at the VA, they sent me an American Flag that has sat in a case on my bookshelf for 19 years.  Monday my thoughts will be for all those families who only have a flag left.

A conversation on a company chat this week reminded me of a trip I took in 1982 to Washington D.C.  I’d gone back to hear Issac Asimov speak (I wrote about it a few years ago see: Memorial Day Remembering The Vietnam Veterans Memorial  ).  My coworkers were impressed that I’d had a chance to hear Dr. Asimov, but the strongest memory I have of that trip was going to see the Tomb of the Unknown and seeing the Vietnam Memorial just after it opened.

I’ve been to the Arlington National Cemetery three times.

Three times I’ve watch the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown.

Once I stood looking at the Korean War Memorial at night, in a light snow.  Spot lights casting a ghostly shadow across the steel statues – a ghost platoon wearing ponchos crossing a field in the cold night.

How easy it is for us to forget the price of war.

How easy it is for us to fall into the trap of only thinking of our own comfort and forgetting the price of battle.

On Monday, for just one day, let’s set aside the virus and remember those who traded their life for a flag.

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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32 Responses to Arlington

  1. Thanks for the reminder that, even (especially?) when the world feels like a very scary place, we should make the effort to look outside ourselves and remember those who served our country.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great reflection, Andrew. Good perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. G. J. Jolly says:

    Like your father, mine served in WWII but didn’t see any “action”. He joined the Coast Guard and saw the “action” of drunken military men in San Francisco.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When you look at the stats for the war, combat vets are actual a small portion of who served. A majority were like our fathers. My father would often quote Milton saying, “They who stand and wait, also serve.”

      Like

  4. Lakshmi Bhat says:

    Yes, we should always remember those who have given up their lives for their country and for other countries.
    I am reading this book. Because I don’t know much about the first world war.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Teacher Camille says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Andrew. It really poses a problem when we forget lessons of the past. Great post, looking forward to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Grateful and remembering…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Christi says:

    Well said, Andrew. I don’t think I have a relative who died in battle, though several served. We should always remember the ones who never made it back.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Andrew, I am Canadian but I found your post so very sad. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. dfolstad58 says:

    I appreciated your post to remind everyone of the importance of remembrance. In Canada we celebrate on a different day and call it a different name but we honor our lost veterans also.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a poignant way to put it, Andrew. You must be a poet. Thank you for such a thoughtful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I can’t express how much I like this post. Well said!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Roadtirement says:

    Well said, sir. Well said….

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think traded their lives for the freedom of others is better, Andrew. Have a great Memorial day.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. pommepal says:

    Our Anzac Day over here, the equivalent to your Memorial Day, was celebrated in lockdown, with thousands standing isolated in their driveways with a candle, tuned into the service on the radio and spending a moment in silence to remember the sacrifice. So different to the normal Dawn parades and gathering together in front of the war memorials and then followed by the bbq and sausage sizzle. Thousands took part and was shown on tv that evening. Quite moving.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Sue says:

    May we never forget 🇺🇸💐

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Ray V. says:

    Let us always remember

    Liked by 2 people

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