Monday, May 28, 2012


...although it's not always evident that (my fellow) Americans remember the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans' Day.  This one, Memorial Day, is about the dead.  People with microphones keep lumping the living and the dead together, as if it is somehow negligent or exclusionary (to use an icky modernism) to reserve one day specially for each.  This is probably just lingering guilt from the bad old days of Vietnam, when no veteran, living or dead, ever got the credit he deserved, and was, in fact, all too likely to be subjected to active and entirely undeserved discredit.

Funny, though -- I think most of those who go so far out of their way not to leave anybody out on Memorial Day are not likely to be the ones who have anything to feel guilty about from the bad old days.

However, it is a day to remember the dead, most particularly those who died in combat, far from home, lives untimely cut short leaving unfillable holes in loving families and circles of friends.  They number in the thousands from the latest generations, and the millions in the generations of the 20th century alone.  It is likely that their names are etched somewhere in the public eye, on plaques and plinths and panels in small towns and giant cities, though many have long ceased to be read.  Just a few of those names ring in the ears of our family, and we pay them homage today:

Capt. Kyle Van de Giesen,USMC

1st Lt. Jared Landaker USMC

[updated] SSgt Alexis Fontalvo USMC 

1st Lt. Travis Manion USMC and Lt. Brendan Looney USN

Semper Fi, Requiescant in Pace,
Fair Winds and Following Seas

And in an uncharacteristic spirit of good will (for me) I will give benefit of much doubt, and add my hope to that of the father of American prisoner of war Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, that this young man's Commander-in-Chief will secure his return to the home and family he loves.  Soon.