Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a day when we honor war dead and, increasingly, living veterans. It is a holiday that dates back to the years immediately after the United States Civil War. For years, it was known as Decoration Day, a day for decorating the graves of the Civil War dead.
For years, someone has cruised our neighborhood sometime during the Saturday before Memorial Day, leaving small American flags on the curbs. They are picked up right after Memorial Day is over.
|Seen in front yard, Binghamton, New York|
In Europe, poppies are a symbol associated with the mourning of fallen soldiers. Wild poppies have been seen blooming on otherwise barren battlefields.
I grew up at a time when veterans of a current war were spat upon. Now, we are finally coming around to recognizing our veterans, as this haunting story of a veteran shows.
If you need more inspiration, join this 99 year old survivor of the Bataan Death March on an eight mile stretch of an annual 26 mile memorial march. He will turn 100 on July 14.
The philosopher/poet Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás, who we knew as George Santayana, wrote in 1905 "Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it". There's another saying I've read, and I don't know who said it (it apparently was not Mark Twain, and there are a couple of versions of the quote): "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme".
We must remember history. It is our duty.