Memorial Day

Memorial-Day modified

image from nationalharbor.com

 

It’s always nice to have a three day weekend. And since Memorial Day always falls on a Monday, this is one of the holidays I always look forward to.

But Memorial Day isn’t just about having one more day of freedom from work. It’s about freedom itself. More importantly, it’s about the people who’ve fought and continue to fight for our freedom.

My father and mother were both part of the Philippine military, my grandfather fought in World War II as part of the USAFFE and my grandmother was part of the rebels who fought against the Japanese invasion in World War II. Thankfully none of them were injured in battle, but others were not so lucky.

So this Memorial Day, I remember and give thanks to the men and women who have died while serving in the armed forces, not just of the US, but of every country as well.

War is a costly affair paid with the lives of soldiers. And while we cannot bring back the dead, we can at least remember what they died for and be thankful for their sacrifice.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow caught the very essence of their sacrifice when he wrote a poem about Memorial Day (then called Decoration Day).

 

Decoration Day

 

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest

On this Field of the Grounded Arms,

Where foes no more molest,

Nor sentry’s shot alarms!

 

Ye have slept on the ground before,

And started to your feet

At the cannon’s sudden roar,

Or the drum’s redoubling beat.

 

But in this camp of Death

No sound your slumber breaks;

Here is no fevered breath,

No wound that bleeds and aches.

 

All is repose and peace,

Untrampled lies the sod;

The shouts of battle cease,

It is the Truce of God!

 

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!

The thoughts of men shall be

As sentinels to keep

Your rest from danger free.

 

Your silent tents of green

We deck with fragrant flowers

Yours has the suffering been,

The memory shall be ours.

 

                              — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

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9 Responses to “Memorial Day”

  1. Elise Fallson says:

    Wonderful post and glad to hear your family stayed safe. My father is a war veteran and he’s on my mind even more so today. I Wish he didn’t live so far away.

  2. Hilary says:

    Hi Nuschell .. yes we need to remember all who serve, have served, have suffered or have died … and their families. So pleased to read your family was safe ..

    With thoughts this day and I love the Longfellow poem .. Hilary

  3. Robyn Engel says:

    Your life has been closely touched by war. Thank you for these reminders, and for sharing the powerful poem. Blessings to you.

    xoRobyn

  4. What a wonderful tribute and poem. I know how you feel. My dad was a sergeant in the army during the tale end of WWII and the Korean war. Many years. Many stories. Many deaths and sadnesses. But he survived and past down his love for his country to his sons.

    Thanks for this, Nutshell.

  5. Donna Hole says:

    A beautiful poem.

    …….dhole

  6. May we never take our freedoms for granted.

  7. Misha says:

    Such a beautiful poem. We should all spend a bit of time thinking of those who sacrificed their lives so we could live ours.

  8. Julie Luek says:

    A lovely thought and remembrance. Thank you.

  9. Jay Noel says:

    My grandfather (who passed away in 1995) was a POW in the Philippines, captured by the Japanese and forced to march with many American G.I.s. But they pounced on the soldiers and ran for the jungles.

    That’s about as much as he would share about his experience. It was pretty gruesome.

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