Memorial Day


Patriots gathered

honoring fallen heroes

with voices and tears


Memorial Day — like any holy-day — is not a remembrance of things past, but of things present; or, a recollection of people and events of the past for the purpose of re-membering and reuniting ourselves with the eternal. It is a remembrance of things surpassed — or of the fixed stars that transcend and illuminate our lives below, and without which we would surely lose our way.

Specifically, it is an occasion for vertical recollection of a divine archetype that is present now — can only be present now — but requires the substance of ritual in order to vividly apprehend and “renew” it. On a holy-day, time “collapses,” so we draw closer to the archetype and to the celestial realm where it abides… – Gagdad Bob


They walk as if wheat rows walked,
In faded light soundlessly –
Those of us who dare to watch
Are not here to applaud
but only to meet their brief lancing gaze –

Imagining themselves in the uniforms
They wore when they fell,
Revolutionary War slap dash,
Civil War knits blue (and gray)
Doughboys in the pie-tin helmets,
Sleek greened GIs, Marines and
Leather jacket aviators of World War Two
The draped fallen in Korea
In faded light soundlessly
Yet vivid as an unexpected face
In a photograph –
Do they see us? Or think themselves
The heroes we strain to properly honor?

Now the Vietnam vets with wounded, confused eyes
And I brace myself, thinking “I will be accused”,
But I am not, no, never,
As the honored dead pass by
Like fluttering leaves
On their way to their city.
And If they ask anything of us
It is that we simply live and die
In the manner they summarized…


(Reposted from 5-25-09)

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5 Responses to Memorial Day

  1. serr8d says:

    The official flag, with the gold edgings. Veterans know.

  2. USS Ben says:

    Thanks for the excellent Memorial Day photo and haiku, Julie! :^)

  3. snoopmurph says:

    Love your photo and all the accompanying words.

    T took the boys out to display the flag this morning and I heard the three of them reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The boys might be young to fully comprehend the meaning of this day, but I thought it was a good start for them.

  4. julie says:

    That’s very cool. This is one of those holidays I never gave a moment’s thought to when I was growing up, but now that I understand what it’s about (not to mention how many in my family have served and fought for us), I hope I’ll be able to install a little reverence in L when he’s old enough.

  5. Sal says:

    Thank you, Julie. I was hoping someone would post Will’s poem.
    Memorial Day was really an ordinary day for us- but spent in the realization of how so many sacrificed so we could have just that- the irreplaceable gift of an ordinary day.

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