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Sunday
May302010

On Memorial Day

Yesterday, I heard the following on the radio:  "Memorial Day is all about grilling out and getting things done!"

Is it?

Here’s a rerun of “At Arlington,” originally run Memorial Day, 2008:
You are lions to little me, and what’s more, you never thought of yourselves as such.

You stood in straight lines at attention where my legs buckle with fear, with fatigue, with laziness.

You stayed kept your politics to yourself so that I might speak of reality television and infomercials.

You bent with the weight of heavy gear and heavy responsibility so that I could stand impatiently in amusement park ride lines, cell phone in one hand, cold drink in the other.

Your family followed you without complaint so that I can lay my head down at night without any real concern as to whether or not mine is safe.

You drank dirty, warm water so that I could have my choice of bottled Perrier in the endless aisles of a well-swept grocery store.

You submitted to the orders of others so that I can pick up and lay down work at will.

You stayed up all night, watching, so that I could sleep in and roll my eyes at the cost of a Frappuccino.

You missed the birth of your first child so that I could weep over not having had a vacation in the past year.

You put your entire career on hold so that I could fret over the low pay for freelance writers these days.

You endured desert heat so that I could smack at the thermostat and make a single phone call to fix it.

You live in assigned quarters, tents even, so that I could complain about property taxes.

You hauled crates of humanitarian aid into Jeeps so that I could tap the softness of my arms and complain about the terrible shape I was in–how fat, how underdeveloped.

You drove tanks into sniper fire so that I could look around the quiet streets of my small suburb and say, “There’s nothing going on around here.”

You put off higher education so that I could gnash my teeth over my alma mater’s poor football showing.

You shivered in driving rains so that I could tell everyone from my heated home that I was having trouble adjusting to these terrible Virginia winters after five years in Florida.

You climbed into fighter jets so that I could balk at the poor customer service of the airlines.

You read technical manuals so that I could kill twenty minutes with a gardening magazine.

You deferred credit to others when I said, “Why aren’t I famous yet?”

You ate another MRE so I could sigh over microwaved leftovers from a bulging refrigerator.

You said, “Give me a gun,” when I said, “But a rerun of Golden Girls is on.”

You said, “I’ll go,” when I said, “I’m too important here.”

You said, “Send me,” when I said, “I’m afraid to die.”

You said, “For others,” when I said, “For me.”

And I thank you.

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Reader Comments (10)

[...] A rerun, for the sentiment never changes. Share and Enjoy: [...]

I read this to my daddy who is a Vietnam veteran. Thank you for the father-son bonding moment. There were many hugs and a few tears as well as many awwwwws from my mom and wife.

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpointyhead

That is one of the greatest compliments I have heard in quite a while. It means a great deal to me-- thanks so much for sharing, and please also convey my thanks to your brave daddy.

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMB

MB- I have read this every year since you wrote it and I get goose bumps every year when I read it. You have some very powerful words. I am glad you use them for good.

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelle Belle

You know, usually I use my powers for evil, but every now and then need a day off.

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Splendid. Thank you.

Oh, Connecticutt AG Blumenthal wants to use this in a speech, and wants credit as the author, as well.

Would it be rude to say "no"?

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDon Reed

I'm with Kelle Belle -- it's one of my favorite posts. I'm glad you ran it again.

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterlynD

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hollee J. Chadwick, Mary Beth Ellis. Mary Beth Ellis said: On Memorial Day: http://blondechampagne.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/on-memorial-day-2/ [...]

MB,

Thanks so much for re-running this. My elementary school is known as the Falcons. Not for the bird, for the fighter jets that zoom over head several times a day. We're very close to (and in the flight path of) Luke AFB, in Arizona. It's the largest fighter pilot training base in the US, and I believe might even be the largest in the world. Several students at our school have parents who are in the Air Force. Indeed, just two weeks before the school year ended, my third graders had to say good-bye to one of their classmates. His daddy had received orders to be transferred to Okinawa. My student, his sister and mother, were going as well.
I'm going to forward this to my teacher friends, so they can have it in their files when we have our White Table Ceremony, honoring fallen soldiers at Veteran's Day. I hope that's all right.
God bless you, MB.

***For anyone who's interested, here are a couple of links:
Luke Air Force Base:
http://www.luke.af.mil/

White Table Ceremony Information:
http://www.amazon.com/Americas-Wh
ite-Table-Margot-Theis/dp/1585362166
(This is the book I read to my third graders to help them understand the ceremony).

http://www.stremscouncil.org/Table%20of%20Honor.html
(This site explains what is needed for the ceremony and gives the narration that is read).

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWiserlemming

It is more than all right. Thank you, my friend.

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMB
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