Sunday, May 26, 2013

Recognizing A Civilization That Works Through Honest Sacrifice

Today, the preacher asked all those who had served in the Armed Services, had family members serve, stand up. There were a quantity.
I sat.

None I know of in my family have ever gone to war or even served in the Armed Forces.

We are patriots.

Memorial Day when I was a kid was when all families went to the cemetery and cleaned up and left flowers from the garden. In my town, the mulberries were ripening, and we kids would climb the trees, eat the berries and what we didn't eat, zing at each other.

I was the surviving child of three my parents had to nurture. They lost two.

I thought Memorial Day meant we all remembered all our dead. I had good parents. I still was highly conscious of dead siblings. Memorial Day was almost a balm, when we took flowers to the brother and sister I never would know. Never did. But they were there. I had no idea Memorial Day didn't honor them at all. Not for years.

I agree we should applaud dead soldiers.

I still am surprised we have no day of remembrance in society for the people we all have lost. As a kid, I thought the day included my dead brother and sister. No. No day does.

I am so glad for our heroes.

They do deserve recognition.

After Pearl Harbor, my dad was too old. Everyone was applying. He got into war bond efforts. I understand my county had some stellar amounts, thanks to my dad. He helped. He worked. He was not in battle. He helped pay for it.

In 100 years or more, both sides, I know of no one in my family who has ever served.

I used to apologize. But. Without the war bonds my dad sold, the war could not have continued. Without the victory garden he planted, many might have gone hungry. My mother taught students her course but also, often, how to survive. She lost two children and reared me. And gave my family so much laughter.

I treasure the heroes we recognize. In my heart, as well, I also am giving tribute to those we never recognize, the ones who also keep us going.

You may be one of them.


clairz said...

And this is why the Day of the Dead is so helpful to all of us, at least here in New Mexico. We have all lost family members and it is such a relief to have a day when we can remember them with little altars. Very healing. I am grateful to the culture that lets us share in the memorials.

charlotte g said...

Yes, I thought about that as I wrote. You know, at least in the Tularosa Basin, that was not part of the culture when I was growing up there. When is that? Does it correlate to All Saints Day in October?

clairz said...

Day[s] of the Dead take place November 1 and 2 and correspond to the All Saints' and All Souls' Catholic holidays. Oct. 31 also seems to be involved as well. Nov. 1 is when we remember children and infants (Dia de los Inocentes or Dia de los Angelitos) and Nov. 2 is for adults who have died. I really love the custom of building a little altar or ofrenda that is filled with objects that help us celebrate the lives of those we loved. I have a blog post that shows an ofrenda made by my sister to honor my daughter, Angelina. You can see it at

clairz said...

Well, that link doesn't seem to be working. I guess you can copy and paste it, or just go to my blog and search "Angelina."

J.R.Shirley said...

There is more than one way to serve. I enlisted after 9-11, but never faulted anyone who had a family already, or was even in a serious relationship, who didn't volunteer.

charlotte g said...

John, I would never think you would.