I’ve published an annual Memorial Day tribute to our fallen for several years. I think military brass just doesn’t capture the solemnity of what Memorial Day stands for. So, this year I’ve added a more sober musical montage, which you can use as the situation dictates.
These are not smart marching tunes, but sober reminders of the men, and now women, who have gone before us, many of them giving that last full measure for causes no other military have done in the history of the world.
The old vets who stood and saluted since I sat with Old Bill in the sun pew of that old church in Kentucky have all passed. Now they’ve all gone to join the comrades they wept for those many Memorial Day Sundays. They are now the ones being saluted, as well, that circle completed.
My generation now sits in their pew.
Since our “graduating class” is much smaller, and succeeding classes will be much, much smaller than ours, the fear came over me that someday there may not be any need for a memorial day observance at all since fewer and fewer Americans actually have any skin in the game and any reckoning at all of the sacrifices those volunteers have made.
But they sure are grateful for that 4-day weekend, not even pausing for a minute to bow a head or doff a cap for the men and women who keep them free.
Today, it’s almost 330 millions Americans who stand on those diminishing number of military shoulders. The US population has increased almost 60% since Vietnam, yet the number of men and women in uniform, now only 1.43 million, carry the nation’s entire population on their shoulders, only with almost no one outside extended family who know they ever existed.
We need to change this. We have a few ideas at VeteransTales.org, especially in the schools. But we need to find ways for people to have come together for a few hours and remember their nation’s war dead, more like Thanksgiving, where we also gather to thank our Provider and Protector.
On Memorial Day we offer thanks to the men and women who offered themselves to guarantee our freedom. Some totally.
Take more than a minute for them.
(IF you’d like to add your own music, just send me a link, and if we approve it, we’ll add it to the playlist, with attribution. Just keep it within the framework.)
Even Philadelphia and the Yankees
Suo Gan, Welsh Lullaby