Monday, May 27, 2013

Kneel where our loves are sleeping

Someone said "happy Memorial Day" to me yesterday evening as she was loading up her FUV after a day out on the water.  Honestly.  What with all the wailing and gnashing and lachrymose warrior worship going on in the media, you'd think she'd have more sense, but for most working people in a country that gets less vacation time than any other free country, it's just another three day weekend.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.

I'll bet your newspaper says almost exactly that this morning and like most of what you read in the papers it's sort of true. Of course the truth is a matter of perspective and depends on how you define "our nation."  The holiday may have originated in the Confederate South.

The sheet music for Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" But Decoration day was officially established by decorating Union graves at Arlington in 1868.  By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states but the South wasn't going to memorialize no damn Yankees and although since WWI when it was modified to include US troops, it began to be noticed in the South,  States like Florida have their own day for honoring the fallen in that War of Northern Aggression.

Many southern states retain an additional separate memorial day of their own in fact: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee, but of late and after so many wars with so little behind them but lies and aggression Memorial Day is part of our growing martial spirit, our obsession with "warfighters" being the sole guardians of what we call Freedom whether they died carpet bombing civilians or facing suicidal attacks by Kamikaze pilots.

April 26 seems to have passed me by unnoticed here in Florida, although there were a few more confederate battle flags than usual.  The last weekend in May is more about beer and the Indy 500 and Department store sales and of course NASCAR and those in turn are about advertising and consumerism, but we continue with the beery crocodile tears and newspaper encomiums to everyone who ever wore a uniform.  It's become too much like another of those "We're number one" holidays we use against the more circumspect and thoughtful or our fellows as we build new stage sets for our history and look forward to more wars for our warriors instead of  considering the real costs of war and who pays it.

No comments: