Monday, May 29, 2017

free to remember

Even though the day is almost over, I would be remiss in failing to note this is Memorial Day in The States.

This morning's edition of The Oregonian carried the usual stories about how Americans are very good at remembering that Memorial Day is part of a three-day holiday, but they are not very good about remembering what the "memorial" part of the holiday is all about. Inevitably, there is a lot of tongue-clucking and shaking of heads.

I am not going to mount that particular high horse. As you know well, I have a tendency to roll some of the smallest slights into moral dudgeon. Not today. What others do is not my concern. What I do is.

If I had stayed in Oregon for the full weekend, I would have accompanied my mother to decorate the graves of our family members who died in support of their country.

There were none. But we had family members who are now dead who served in the defense of their country. My grandfather and a brace of uncles.

Mom would not have stopped there. She would have extended the arms of memory to all family members. When she was done, we would have re-lived the lives of people who had helped make us who we are.

That is what she would have done. But she is in Bend today -- far from family graves. But not far from the memory of the people 
she would honor. I know she is doing that. And so am I as I write.

At times, it is easy to claim Americans have forgotten what it means to sacrifice their life in the defense of what the country stands for. For some, the correct way to remember is following rituals designed by others.

But, the very essence of freedom is the ability to show honor in the way you choose.

However you have chosen to honor the men and women who have died in order that Americans can live in a peaceful society ruled by law, I congratulate you -- as we all thank them.

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