Just some thoughts:
“I WAS ASHAMED”
Sometime back I had the pleasure of visiting the Mississippi home of the literary great, Williams Faulkner. Faulkner said a number of things with lasting value. He once said:
“Unless you’re ashamed of yourself every now and then you’re not honest.”
This Monday May 25th is Memorial Day. A day in which we have the opportunity to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice served in our country’s military.
I must say there have been some times in which I identify with Faulkner’s statement about being ashamed.
In thinking about this Memorial Day I was reminded when our son left for the military. In my book Just Some Thoughts, “Off to War and I Felt Ashamed” page 537 I write in more detail regarding those times and happenings.
I well remember the morning I took him to the National Guard Armory in Flemington, NJ to begin his service. Not only remembering the morning but the long night before. Just a few days previous he had completed his high school education and now was leaving for service.
Everything about that time makes in a sense makes me ashamed. I could not help but think of the time that my older brother was stationed for one year in Korea during the Korean War. Or how my biological father had served in the Battle of the Bulge during WW II. And now here I was taking our son to begin his service and fortunately our country was not at war. Even with that consolation I still had great reservations about the whole matter.
Even though I knew that over sixteen million American men and women served in WW II and nearly five hundred thousand never came home I still could not erase the feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I must say he did and I both did just fine. He ended up spending something like nearly ten years in full time duty and reserves. Some years later he and I would travel together to Europe and be with a group in which for twelve days during that time we would re-create the journey of the American solider on his landing at the beaches at Normandy all the way to the heart of Germany. Bunkers, hedgerows, air gliders, you name it. During that time we would visit eleven of the thirteen American cemeteries located in Europe. I will always remember the Sunday morning he and walked the beaches of Normandy. So quite, it was as if nothing had ever happened. He and I both knew better.
So on this Memorial Day I hope things are good in your world. As a kid growing up in Indiana this day I will always remember. It would start with my parents making their annual visiting to the cemetery walking and talking among the graves they would visit. Later in the day it would be spent at relatives houses, waiting for the watermelons, placed in the wash tub to get cold. Taking turns cranking the freezer for the home made ice cream. And hearing Sid Collins describing the running of the Memorial Day classic, the Indianapolis 500.
You know I guess sometimes being ashamed can help makes us proud. Probably a bit good for all of us at one time or another to feel a bit ashamed.
When I think about on it, yes in some ways I am ashamed, but I am very thankful for those who have given so much for us. May we never forget the price that has been paid for us to be able to try and live life as best we choose.
In a far and distant land somewhere inscribed on a stone it reads:
“When you go home, tell them of us and say,
for your tomorrow, we gave our today.”
Hope you enjoy the day.
May 25, 2020