Memorial Day, 2015

For Which They Fell

I’ve been too busy actually working to blog, but Memorial Day is one thing I cannot in good conscience  neglect.

Normally, I try to go out and get something extra-special for Memorial Day, in an effort to remind us of those men and women who have fallen in defense of our nation, in what Lincoln so aptly described as “the last full measure of devotion” to America and all she stands for.

Unfortunately, weather and other things have not cooperated this year (and I did not bring my camera to our church’s Memorial Day commemoration this morning)—a privilege I can claim as a photographer, something the men and women who have served and even died under this flag can never claim. Forget the post office; it’s America’s men and women in uniform who serve no matter how they feel, no matter what else is happening in their lives, under any condition, including conditions so horrendous you and I could not manage to think well, much less perform well. Yet they serve, they perform, and often in fashion beyond exemplary—some dying while doing so, many dying while protecting their brothers and even sisters in arms in the process.

It is these brilliantly brave men and women we in America honour today, those who have given their lives in service of our nation. It is my hope that you have found or find a way to honour them yourself this weekend—by going to a cemetery or memorial honouring those who have so died, or by attending a Memorial Day service (of which fewer and fewer seem to be serious as they should be, so I wish you luck). This day is not about us, about our barbeques and yardwork, unless we find ourselves remembering one who has died while wearing America’s uniform. It’s about *them*. Memorial Day is one of the few days of the year Americans are asked to consider someone other than themselves, and I dearly hope you take this seriously.

To those who have lost someone who gave his or her life for this country: Thank you. You are in my prayers today and, really, every day.

For some very good reading about Memorial Day and some of America’s heroes, who now find themselves unsung in a way men like Audie Murphy probably could not imagine, I suggest reading this, which I stumbled across this morning. I wish such brave souls’ names were still trumpted across the media, but it seems we’ll have to dig a little harder to learn about them ourselves.

God bless our brave men and women in uniform, and God bless America.

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