While walking into the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City on Friday, I passed a couple of sailors in town for Fleet Week, and was striken by how young they looked. I thought of Owen Meany's reflection in John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany" that children fight the wars.
This Memorial Day, I'm thinking a lot about the Causley poem, as well the John Irving novel, with its reflections on Vietnam. I'm not thinking about going to the mall. For retailers and for some consumers, it's just another sale.
Consider these words from Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander-In-Chief Thomas Tradewell, Sr.:
"Do most non-veterans really recognize the importance of the day honoring their fellow Americans killed in war?
Judging from what Memorial Day has become—simply another day off from work—the answer is a resounding no. Perhaps a reminder is due, then. And it is the duty of each and every veteran to relay the message.
Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance. America's collective consciousness demands that all citizens recall and be aware of the deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime.
Far too often, the nation as a whole takes for granted the freedoms all Americans enjoy. Those freedoms were paid for with the lives of others few of us actually knew. That's why they are all collectively remembered on one special day."
In my car hangs a red poppy which I received from a veteran after making a donation, but never knew its meaning, so decided to look it up. Red poppies became associated with the war after the publication of the poem "In Flander's Field," by Col. John McCrae of Canada. Here is that poem.
In Flander's Field
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky, The larks, still bravely singing, fly, Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead. Short days ago, We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved and now we lie, In Flanders Fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe To you, from failing hands, we throw, The torch, be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us, who die, We shall not sleep, though poppies grow, In Flanders Fields.
Independent thinker, writer, reader, activist, voter, food lover, thrifter, volunteer, supporter of family farms, main streets, and libraries, traveler, park-goer, friend of animals, people and the Earth, lover of life
This blog is for people of all dietary backgrounds. The Vegan Good Life is not The Vegan Perfect Life. I am not a pure vegan all the time (I do eat vegetarian always), and strive to do the best I can at pursuing a vegan lifestyle. Please feel free to come along on this flawed but beautiful journey. Along the way, we'll advocate for a better world for animals, reduce our impact on the Earth, travel, go thrifting, empower ourselves financially, learn, dream, inspire, listen to music, and celebrate one of life's greatest passions - food.