We Remember, We Honor, We Celebrate

Today all across this great land we call America, we pause to remember those who have fallen. We give thanks for their final sacrifice, for their love of country, and we say prayers for them, for their families, for the country they serve. We fly flags to honor their service, to observe our own dedication to America. But, being the ever optimistic Americans we are, we have turned this day formerly known as Decoration Day into a nation wide party, a celebration of patriotism, family, summer’s promise, and just any old other thing we choose it to be.

Tracking the origins of Memorial Day proves to be a somewhat difficult task. Some attribute it to former African slaves paying tribute to fallen Union soldiers. There is strong evidence that women of the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War. On May 30, 1868, flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetary. By 1890 all the northern states were observing the day. The South would not observe the same date until after World War I, when it became more than an observance recognizing those fallen in the Civil War.

So, it took another war to unite Americans in remembrance of those fallen heroes. Stubborn aren’t we? Here in the South, I grew up visiting the cemetary on birthdays, holidays, and whenever my mother felt a need to connect with those gone from her – but never forgotten. Each visit to the cemetary (my mother never let us call it a graveyard) was a fascinating experience to me as a child. Always walk around the plots, never step on one. Wander away as my mother knelt in the grass coaxed lovingly into growth in the red Georgia clay. Look first for relatives, those my mother spoke of, and those strange names I was unfamiliar with. Look for the little stone with the lamb on top – the resting place of my mother’s baby sister, Carole. Look for more lambs and little angels – they were dotted around the older section with alarming frequency, something I noticed even as a child. Take note of all the flowers. It was a fine thing for a family to have many who remembered to honor their dead. I also very vividly remember the little American flags stuck in the ground on days such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Not too long ago, I found a small cemetary with a mass grave of Confederate soldiers who mostly died of an outbreak, possibly flu, during the war. Those little flags had been put in the ground around the few individual markers. I wondered if they minded that 50 star flag, or if they were grateful to be remembered, honored, prayed over.

It was something I lived with as a child, this presence of the dead. I never thought much about it until recently. Here you literally cannot stray far outside your own yard without encountering some reminder of the war fought on this soil, and those fallen. As a child, many of our parents remembered grandparents who fought in the war. It is alive for us, and so has colored how we honor our dead, those who have fallen in battle, and those who in the words of many a fire and brimstone preacher, “The LORD has called home to be with HIM.” Believe me, no disrespect intended, just an indication of a little local flavor.

And so, I find myself wondering. Is this a southern thing? Is it an American thing? Or is it something common to all of us, this need to return to the place we left our loved ones for the final time on this earth? Is it a regional custom, tied deep in the roots we are so tangled in, or a need born with our souls? I think it must be the latter, with a twist of regional observances that may vary from place to place, but sooth the heart of those who wait here, on this side. Perhaps, after all is said and done, it meets our needs more than just paying respect to the dead. We wander there, among those peaceful plots, wondering, imagining, where are they? How is it there? When will my time come? Will I be with them again? Then, that most human of all questions. Who will honor me in my time, when I lay beneath the grass coaxed lovingly into growth in the red Georgia clay?

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195 Responses to We Remember, We Honor, We Celebrate

  1. fred says:

    Fred, you forgot to blame Fox News as in we can’t think for ourselves and only repeat what they tell us. Otherwise, you got all the liberal talking points down pat . Good job. by Garnette

    Well, Garnette, if the shoe fits ,wear it, as they say. Tell me what you think of Fox News. Do you believe their drum-beat? Are they really “fair and balanced?”

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    • AFinch says:

      I can’t speak for Garnette, but I rarely watch FOX. The only time I watch is when Sarah Palin is on, which brings us full circle. You know both Sarah Palin and her husband were union members at one time don’t you? And many people in her family were teachers, including her father. I’m guessing you won’t find a stronger supporter of teachers–not their unions, but the teachers themselves–than Sarah Palin.

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    • garnette says:

      Fred, you are boring me because you want to try to tear us down rather than take the opportunity to actually learn something that may scare you because it is outside your liberal world. What I think of Fox News has nothing to do with what I said. I basically have learned that when someone can’t argue the points they decide to blame it on Fox News as a way to say that the person can’t know the subject because they just listen to Fox. This cracks me up because instead it shows that the person is unwilling to step out of their comfort zone and listen to Fox News to discover for themselves if they are fair and balanced. I gave you the opportunity to learn something about Sarah Palin’s books and you refused. That said more to me than anything else you have said. You are the one who brought up the tea party and labeled us a tea party site. While we might support the tea party and tea party candidates, this site is so much more than that. Sadly, you are closed minded enough that you want to label us to make yourself feel comfortable and that you are so much smarter than us by putting us in a category that makes you feel comfortable. Sadly again, you won’t take the time to listen to what we say because it may destroy the fragile state of your beliefs. Trust me, I know I used to be a liberal and a democrat that even demonstrated a few times. However, as I grew older and wiser I realized that democrats are totally against what they act like they stand for just like the unions are all about supporting the top with the wages of the workers. Come on, I even voted for Clinton once or twice so I have the street cred of being a former democrat that has learned the hard way what they really stand for.

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  2. fred says:

    Gee, did you really think that we would just accept what you said to us? Don’t you realize that we actually understand politics, government, economics and national security? We don’t just accept what we are told, we research, learn and understand things before we form our opinions on who and what we support when it comes to the USA. by Garnette

    OK, Garnette, who do you support?

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  3. gruntofmontecristo says:

    WeeWeed is right. We’re definitely in Ministry of Truth territory. Fred may even be Jesse Lee himself. Cool! The Treehouse rocks!

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  4. fred says:

    So billionaires and millionaires are heartless for electing republicans who don’t want to destroy them, but it’s okay for rich unions to fund O’bama’s campaign because they want someone to “protect” them. Well, as a taxpayer, I pay for public employees unions’ benefits. Who the hell is protecting me? Where is my interest being represented at the negotiating table? Unions represent only 12-14% of the workers in this country. Whose “protecting” the rest of us?

    Sorry Fred, this class warfare schtick is wearing thin very fast.

    AFinch, Republicans and Democrats have sent millions of good paying jobs to Third World countries as a part of Globalization. If teachers could be outsourced they would have been, but they teach in schools in the USA so it can’t be done. Well, the next best thing then is to destroy their Unions to pay them lowered or minimum wages with no benefits. You want to be ticked off at teachers because they belong to Unions and you don’t? That is not their fault. They did not send all of our manufacturing base away or many of our other white collar jobs. You are ticked because your taxes pay teachers’ wages? Well, mine do also and it’s fine with me. I want my kids to go to school where teachers are well qualified and the schools are up to snuff. In the Third World taxes don’t go to pay for schools and guess who attends school? No one but the small percentage of rich folks kids that can afford it. The rest of the kids attend hit the streets.

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    • stellap says:

      You obviously don’t read well, or comprehend, one or the other. We know our taxes pay teacher salaries and benefits, and don’t mind. What we mind is that we have been cut out of the negotiations for said salaries and benefits by union bosses and politicians who don’t care what it costs because they don’t pay for it. Most of the workers in this country don’t work for unions, and most of us make a living wage and benefits. If you are worth the money, you will get it on the open market. Very few people make minimum wage.

      Like

    • AFinch says:

      Fred, time for a lesson in economics 101. A corporation does not exist to give people jobs. It exists to turn a profit. The reason manufacturing jobs have moved overseas is because it has become increasingly difficult to turn a profit manufacturing in the US because (1) unions have made manufacturing too expensive in the united states, (2) environmental and other regulations have made it too difficult and too expensive to turn a profit in the US, and/or (3) the high corporate tax structure in the u.s. eats into profits.

      I am not mad at teachers for being in unions and I have no desire to be in a union. I’m doing just fine on my own. I also have no problem with my taxes paying for teachers’ salaries if they’re doing a good job. What I do have a problem with is the public sector making more money than the private sector. When the employees are making more than the employers, something is out of whack and it will collapse sooner or later. It is not a question of what we want to pay teachers. It is a question of what we can afford. The private sector has lost millions of jobs in this recession. How many public sector jobs have been lost?

      I also have a problem with continuing to throw money into a system that continues to fail and paying teachers who do not perform but who cannot be fired. We spend more money on education than any other country in the world, yet our test scores are some of the worst. What have teachers unions done to improve the state of education in this country? Because it is all about the kids, right? What are the unions doing for the kids, other than throwing them into an increasingly competitive world woefully unprepared?

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  5. fred says:

    employees unions’ benefits. Who the hell is protecting me? Where is my interest being represented at the negotiating table? Unions represent only 12-14% of the workers in this country. Whose “protecting” the rest of us? by AFinch

    AFinch: Class warfare is waged by the rich on everyone else. Part of it involves turning the majority against each other as in…….you are ready to slam teachers because they make a living wage, from what I can tell. That reminds me of an old story. In Poland a villager says, “My neighbor has a cow. I hope it dies.” The solution is to have more people make a living wage again in America. I don’t see any other solution.

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    • stellap says:

      The problem is – who decides the “living wage”? I don’t want politicians and union bosses making those decisions. If a private union negotiates with a private company, that is an entirely different situation.

      Like

    • stellap says:

      I have a better cow story. If I find it, I will comment here.

      Like

    • garnette says:

      Egads, now you are using the living wage talking point? I have a big problem with the living wage because it is based on being able earn enough to support their household not on the skills and experience of workers. However, what it reminds me of most of all is back in the days when men were paid more than women because they had to support a family so they deserved to earn more. So, taking this living wage idea, I guess you are saying that a mother with 2 children living wage should be higher than a single woman with no children and that a man with a wife and 3 children should have a higher living wage than the two women given as examples, because his household is the largest thus he needs a higher living wage. Sorry to say it but I’ve known too many people who got second jobs in order to support their families rather than expecting a higher wage to support themselves.

      Like

    • AFinch says:

      No, I am ready to slam unions for protecting inefficiency and waste at the expense of hard-working tax payers who have no seat at the table and at the expense of the recipients of their crappy services.

      Like

  6. fred says:

    stellap says:
    May 30, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Teachers are public employees. Their unions bargain with politicians who are supposed to represent the people who voted for them, yet they don’t.
    ______________________________________________________

    From what I understand, teacher Unions bargain with school boards, which are made up of representatives from each school district or community. As far as pensions for life, teachers typically pay into their pension retirement plan from the day they begin teaching, which is usually for about 30 – 35 years at retirement at 62. They put quite a bit in over that period of time,which gains interest, and half is supposed to be matched by the school district. How much longer do people live after 62? Usually not past 75 and a teacher’s pension is about half what they got on the job.

    Like

    • stellap says:

      Depends on the state you live in.

      Like

    • stellap says:

      I have a 401K plan. My employer does NOT pay for half of my retirement account. Most people in this country do not have that kind of retirement account. Social Security will pay me about half of what I earn now, plus I will have retirement funds that I set aside. In some states teachers also get Social Security. In some states they don’t. They are, of course, entitled to the money they put into their pension plans, if any.

      PLUS: I think they have guaranteed pensions with guaranteed amounts, regardless of how much they paid in or how long they live. They call that “defined benefits”. Most people don’t have that.

      Like

  7. stellap says:

    AN AMERICAN DEMOCRAT: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You feel guilty for being successful. You vote people into office who tax your cows, forcing you to sell one to raise money to pay the tax. The people you voted for then take the tax money and buy a cow and give it to your neighbor. You feel righteous.

    A SOCIALIST: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.

    A COMMUNIST: You have two cows. The government seizes both and provides you with milk.

    A FASCIST: You have two cows. The government seizes both and sells you the milk. You join the underground and start a campaign of sabotage.

    DEMOCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE: You have two cows. The government taxes you to the point you have to sell both to support a man in a foreign country who has only one cow, which was a gift from your government.

    CAPITALISM, AMERICAN STYLE: You have two cows. You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

    BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE: You have two cows. The government takes them both, shoots one, milks the other, pays you for the milk, then pours the milk down the drain.

    Like

  8. fred says:

    May 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    The problem is – who decides the “living wage”? I don’t want politicians and union bosses making those decisions. If a private union negotiates with a private company, that is an entirely different situation.

    Stellap, to me a living wage is what is needed to have a house or apartment, food, clothes, and to be able to support your children. It seems to me today that a living wage for one person supporting one child would be about $65,000 per year before taxes. Usually almost 1/3 is taken out for taxes. If husband and wife are together then both must work if they want a small house. When I was a kid in the early 60s usually the man worked in a factory or as a teacher and that was enough for a house, car, clothes, etc. for a family of four. Today…what a different story. Again, there are no “Union Bosses” today and people don’t negotiate with politicians for wages at all.

    Troll

    Like

    • Fred, considering your visit as a guest into this place, your immediate and condescending use of the term “right wingers” to broad paint brush stroke a team of people shows a predisposition toward hostility. The remainder of your commentary here continues to showcase this same ideological hostile narrative.

      So, if you choose to maintain this tone of negativity I invite you to self censor and leave. Should you wish to remain a guest here you will find your manners pretty quick, apologize for your labeling, and humble yourself.

      Other people following your saga are at a bit of a disadvantage. They don’t see everything that goes on on this site like I do. (Well some actually do, some know more than me, but they are the exception.)

      Please don’t act as if I’ve got you wrong, it’s an insult to simple awareness. Your skin is thinner than Michelle Obama’s day old odor-eaters. After your extraordinarily inane stand to disect and dissent on Sarah Palin, based on your superior principles and intellect, you’ve been on a shadow mission.

      Virtually every one of your comments since has become a comment about Sarah Palin. After your first coment Butch was nice enough to acknowledge it and say welcome. But you had to keep hammering away, inducing eye rolls from here to Bangkok.

      Don’t play the doe-in-the woods game. I see where this is heading. You’re even intimating as much. You are going to devolve into a bigger problem child than you already are. Everyone can see it. You’re a narcissist. The stand you take is so incredibly lame that one could only conclude you do these things for attention. (So stuff it, Mr.Principle.)

      We have enough problems with progressive trolls, I don’t need a problem from supposedly “the fundamental christian conservative perspective.”
      You’ve said enough stupid things to put you in the same league as other progressive trolls, as far as we are concerned.

      The Treehouse is not in the business of chasing away readers. But our number one reason for existing is to be a giant foxhole, this is a morale boosting site, this is the camp fire the night before a battle. Fred can say his thing and stay in the fox hole. But when Fred intentionally becomes an annoying gnat, the thickness of “our skin” is not the issue. It’s the agenda of the gnat.

      Like

    • stellap says:

      I say BS again. I am single. I make less than $65,000 per year. I had one child, and didn’t make that much when I had a child at home, by far. I OWN MY OWN HOME. Yes, in the early 60s that was enough for the early 60s for one person to be working. One car, if that, a very small house (many times rented, not owned), no air conditioning, no stereos, no computers, no phones etc etc. Today people want more, so it takes more to support that lifestyle. I know people who have made a conscious decision to have one parent at home while the other works. They scale back their living standards in order to do that, if necessary.

      In any case, income should be determined by the worth of the employee, not by his or her needs. If you want to increase your income, you work more, or get a better education, or join a profession that pays a higher salary, or start your own business. Most of those things require effort.

      Like

  9. fred says:

    Fred, considering your visit as a guest into this place, your immediate and condescending use of the term “right wingers” to broad paint brush stroke a team of people shows a predisposition toward hostility. The remainder of your commentary here continues to showcase this same ideological hostile narrative. by Sundancecracker

    Sundancecracker, yes I understand your perspective and will not wait for tomorrow but will leave your site now. As I said, I realized this was a Tea Party site form the get go. Take it easy.

    Like

  10. Wow. Fred. What a dick, huh?

    Like

  11. gfcandinthatorder says:

    I guess that is there way of “remebering and honoring and celebrating.

    Like

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