31 May 2010

To the great fallen- Memorial Day 2010

War at the best, is terrible, and this war of ours, in its magnitude and in its duration, is one of the most terrible.
Abraham Lincoln 16 June 1864

Not being in a war with weapons and being shot at I would agree that war is unpleasant to say the least. My family doesn't have many veterans. None died during their service. My great-great-grandfather, Robert Palmer (not the singer), during the Civil War and may have been injured during his term but I can't make out the words on the 1890 Veteran's Census form.
Above is the monument in Grand Forks, ND to the lads who fought in the Civil War. It stands on its own ground less than a mile from the downtown. I am not sure how oft it is observed what with the downtown mostly quiet these days. But I took note of it many times when I was in town. It looks very similar to one in Island Park in the Go. I recall another lonely monument in Washington DC. A WWI monument that sits on the edge of the Mall. Not sure if it gets much attention with the new WWII memorial nearby. I should visit both the next time I come to town.
But today we observe Memorial Day in the states. It is a holiday that slowly came into national existence after the conclusion of the Civil War. At the time it was called Decoration Day and one of its aims was to remember those who died in that great war. At first it wasn't well received by the newly reconciled southern states but as the nation grew and 2 world wars brought further causalities those misgivings subsided. 
It has come to become a day marking the beginning of the summer vacation season rather than of remembering those who died in battle. Although that does certainly go on- the remembering of those who died while serving in the armed forces. War certainly hasn't been popular as of late. However, I am unsure if the absence of war would make us any better. And that somehow the absence of war is peace. Is fair to say that peace creates its own casualties because we turn a blind eye to injustices we dare not speak against? It could. 
But let us put aside that debate and remember someone died for freedom.


   

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