Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

Music for the day, lest we never forget.

"...I'm already there
Take a look around
I'm the sunshine in your hair
I'm the shadow on the ground

I'm the whisper in the wind
And I'll be there 'til the end
Can you feel the love that we share?
Oh I'm already there"

"...If I don't make it back
If the good Lord calls me home
I'd like to think my friends
Will think about me when I'm gone..."

"...On the 8th of November,
The angels were crying
As they carried his brothers away.
With the fire raining down
And the Hell all around,
There were few men left standing that day.
Saw the eagle fly,
Through a clear, blue sky
1965, the 8th of November.

The 8th of November
The 8th of November

He said goodbye to his mamma
As he left South Dakota
To fight for the Red, White, and Blue.
He was nineteen and green with a new M-16
Just doing what he had to do."

When I was a child--and yes, you may groan at another memory-lane post, Memorial Day was a long weekend at the end of the school year.  The nuns taught us nothing--that I can recall, of what the day stood for.  That was during the 1960s;  I am sure that things have changed.

I recall--as a teenager, listening to a nurse who worked with my mom, talking about going home (a twelve hour drive)for decoration day.  And she decorated all of the family graves.  Then she admitted that it was a bit competitive among the townsfolk.  If she had not gone home and taken care of the graves, the townsfolk all would have known and then talked about her until next decoration day.

But, my family didn't do it.  And we attended no memorial day parades. To be honest, I can't recall if there were any parades in my neck of the woods. Now, there is...every year.

Moving beyond that decoration day impression--and many years later,   my understanding of the day is so much different.  It is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.

A great site for learning the history and etiquette of the day is here

As an adult, I have taken my children to services in the park of our local small town.  The mayor, the Ladies' VFW auxiliary, local war veterans, the president of the VFW and the American legion all sit inside the big, raised gazebo.  There are veterans who do a 21 gun salute and speeches are made.  We sing the National Anthem--and even once were scolded by one of the older veterans in the gazebo, to remove our hats and place our hands over our hearts while pledging allegiance and singing the Star Spangled Banner.

And then, while I blink back tears--every year...the names of the community's veterans who gave everything-- and came home in boxes, are read.  The oldest local veteran strikes a brass bell after each name.  That we should never forget.

The names of the local gold star mothers are read. Another wave of tears.

War...it is a horrific thing. 

The ultimate sacrifice...and the ultimate love...  I am not religious...but the Bible says it best.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

John 15:13   

On a broader scale, no one can deny that each of those deceased veterans we honor each Memorial day ...did just exactly that.  No greater love...

I am not a war monger, and the older I get, the more I see it as barbaric and tragic.  Yet, understand that to be human is to make war. Understanding and accepting are two different things, by the way.

We make war for many reasons.  And there are no wars without loss of life.

Still, even with  death, there is hope.  Hope that a day will come when we can live in peace.  

Our service men and women go to foreign lands with a mission.  To make life better for someone, somewhere around the globe.  And to make life safer for someone..somewhere, back home.

I know young service people.  And I can say that no matter the covert agendas of the leaders sending them off to make war, no matter   the very few who commit acts unbecoming of members of a disciplined armed force--or of members of the human race, the great majority lay their lives on the line to better the world.

And that is the reason that I honor the dead service members on this day...the one day set aside specifically for doing so. 

They didn't die because they hated other human beings.  They didn't die full of longing to see other people perish.  They died hoping that their service made a better world, a better life, a better tomorrow.  And they gave us that tomorrow with the greatest sacrifice imaginable.

So, each Memorial day, I look back, full of gratitude and humility.  I am awash at the sorrow of all their tomorrows that never came.  My heart aches for lovers, wives, husbands, children, friends...all left behind  But I fill with hope anew, each Memorial day.  That their dreams live on.  

I hope for them, each and every one, that their sacrifice was not made in vain.  That, peace will come, that their families can live in safety, and that their children can grow up knowing that the world was bettered by the selfless act of their parent--and that all of us are grateful for that.


  1. Beautiful post and I loved the poem!

    As an old veteran this day has more meaning every year. As a young man in the heat of combat I missed my friends but it didn't mean as much to a kid.

    Now I see that the sacrifice made by the families were almost as great as the lost.

    I agree that war is harsh and terrible. I also thank God that there are men and women who know the meaning of honor and duty-- even if they don't agree with the politics of it.

    Thank you Teresa for helping me remember!

    1. Thank you, Dannie, for your service :-)

      Age...the passing of years, are such humbling things. There's so much we don't realize when we are young.

      Yes...honor and duty--even if they don't agree with the politics of it. :-)

  2. Great post, Teresa! Always enjoy reading your reminiscences. :-)

    1. Thanks, Debbie. Lovely post you left on facebook, by the way. :-)

  3. Wonderful, thoughtful post and to me, as a non US citizen and a total ignorant :) also very informative.
    You are right, we do war for all kind of different reasons, too many reasons in my opinion. But in the end it's all because of money and power. Sad!

    Many hugs

    1. Thank you, Petro! It is nice getting opinions from outside of the USA. :-)

      Money and power...I think we can barely imagine the horrific acts done in the name of filling pots of gold for people in power... :-(

      Thank you for visiting! :-)

  4. It's so nice that you are teaching your kids the true meaning. My family all did the personal remembrance, grave decorating bit, but I have fallen down on that with my own family. I work full time and am just always SO THANKFUL for the long weekend.

    1. Hi, Hart. Yes. Loooooong weekends...such a blessing when they roll around. Sometimes I am guilty of wishing my life away--already I have begun to look ahead to the 4th of July and planning how to use vacation to maximize my time off, lol...

      Congrats on your book release! So exciting :-)

      Thanks for visiting. :-)

  5. Wonderful and important post. Very touching.


    1. Thanks so much for visiting, reading--and leaving kind words. :-)

  6. I daren't listen to any of the links- my stepson is a British Marine and I know I'll cry!! Too much empathy for the families!
    This bit is particularly touching:
    'They didn't die because they hated other human beings. They didn't die full of longing to see other people perish. They died hoping that their service made a better world, a better life, a better tomorrow. And they gave us that tomorrow with the greatest sacrifice imaginable.'

    1. Oh, Lily...there is that terrifying mixture of pride and fear when someone we love serves in the military.

      Thanks for visiting, my friend. :-)