Memorial Day 2020

memorial day 2020

There is exactly one occasion around here where we hang out Old Glory, and that’s Memorial Day weekend.

That’s not to say that people who put it up at other times are wrong; certainly not. If properly displayed the US flag can be flown year-round, at all times. Other examples of appropriate occasions to hang the flag would also be the 4th of July, Inauguration Day, Veterans/Armistice Day, Flag Day, the list goes on and you get my drift.

It’s a free country.

We choose to only fly the flag on this hallowed weekend, when we remember the dead.

This is not the weekend when you beat your chest and tell everyone what a great guy you are. This is not a weekend where it’s appropriate to use the sacrifice of 1.2 million Americans for political or commercial ends. Unfortunately, however, you see this too much; it is what it is.

That’s not to say you can’t have fun on this holiday weekend, because you can. Let me give an example.

In the now-distant past, when all of our WW2 veterans were middle aged, we held large family picnics on this weekend. Not on the day itself, but usually on the Saturday before. I remember my uncle Clyde, a tanker, the best. I also remember my Grandpa Magyar, an infantryman. We also had a cohort of Korea and Vietnam guys, they were young then, still in their twenties and thirties. These are with us today; but their ranks are thinning as well.

While it is true that us kids played, and everyone ate and enjoyed themselves, there was always a moment devoted for remembrance and a short prayer.

Does anyone still do this? I hope so.

Our fallen. We have a list, from the Civil War to present.

ferry cannon

The parade back then would be somber, a marching line of veterans, everyone headed to the cemetery for a short service by the VFW chaplain. One recollection I have of those days, the late 1970’s, was a Great War veteran. His sister wheeled him onto the porch every year in his high-collared uniform. He had no face.

Our dead. Our honored dead.

Fast forward to now. How to describe this year’s Memorial Day?

Nearly one hundred thousand dead of a terrible epidemic; well over a million struggling with the sickness.

There won’t be any large gatherings. At least, not if people use some common sense.

So I guess this Memorial Day will be spent here at home, remembering, with Old Glory hanging in the pleasant spring breeze.

I don’t think our passed-on ancestors would mind; they’d want us to stay safe and do the right thing.

“This we’ll defend.”

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “Memorial Day 2020

  1. On Anzac day they’ve always had dawn services, at the memorials. This year, they cancelled most of those, so a number of people went out to their driveways at dawn, and the community radio stations near me broadcast one of the ceremonies from somewhere. It worked pretty well. I had a flag out for that – the first time I’ve put a flag out for years.

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  2. For the first time in years I didn’t attend an Anzac service (be it in civvies or uniform!). As a sign of modern times, some old army mates and I had a Zoom chat over a few beers from our own fridges!

    Also, fun trivia – my clan/family motto is ‘This I’ll Defend’ (Clan MacFarlane)

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  3. Well said. I did not serve, but come from a family well represented in the armed forces. My father was in the Air Force for 28 years. My sister married an airman who served 25 years. His father, and brother served 30 and 25 respectively. My niece and her husband are both active duty in the Air Force, my nephew served 6 in the Navy, and my other niece is married to a pilot who is active duty in the Air Force. Memorial Day is appropriately observed here. I reached out to my nephew (in law?) who lost crew in Africa 3 years ago. This is an especially meaningful weekend for him and the rest of his squadron. I love that more and more are aware of the true meaning of memorial day and that it is not a mini 4th of July pre party, as it sometimes seems in the media.

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