Sunday Roast: Memorial Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~Lt Col John McRae

This is our daily open thread — In Memoriam of those service members who died while serving their country.

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The Watering Hole, Monday, May 25, 2015: Memorial Day and Its Disputed Origins

Under different circumstances, after different choices, it could have been me. It wasn’t, of course, or I wouldn’t be here to write this. And by accident or design, depending on what you wish to believe, I was never in the circumstances, probably as a result of some of my choices, where it ever might have been me. But there have been more than one million three hundred thousand United States service members who died while serving in our nation’s armed forces, more than half of them (counting both sides) in our own civil war. I have never seen the honor of serving my country under combat, so I was never in a situation where I could expect to be killed. I honestly can’t say how I would have behaved in combat, but I’ve always thought of myself as the kind of person who would sacrifice himself to make sure others survived a situation. Maybe we all do, I don’t know. But I do know that because of the sacrifices those million brave people made, I can enjoy the freedom and luxury of being able to sit in my own home writing this blog post, and you can enjoy the freedom and luxury of reading it. Our nation, by and large, doesn’t treat the brave men and women who serve to protect our country (simply by being the biggest bad-asses on the planet) well enough, and we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice even less than we should.

The true origins of the holiday we’ve come to know as Memorial Day are in some dispute, partly because there isn’t general agreement on what is meant by “first,” and also by “holiday.” Many of you reading this blog (because many of you are Liberals like me) know of the first official ceremony to honor the war dead, known then as Decoration Day, and that it was started by African Americans in May 1865 (the month following the Civil War’s end) and is recounted by Snopes here. But as the article indicates, there is no evidence that this ceremony, wonderful as it was, had any influence on the decision by Major General Logan to hold an annual holiday. I wanted to confirm that story before posting it here as the official start of Memorial Day, but I couldn’t find any mention of it on the History Channel website, the PBS website, or even the Department of Veterans Affairs website. I wonder why that is. The Charleston, South Carolina, ceremony was certainly the first observation of Decoration Day, and its purpose was largely similar to that of today’s Memorial Day (though it was restricted to remembering the Civil War dead.) But why it’s not credited with being the first Memorial Day is unknown. Instead, Congress declared that Waterloo, NY, was the site of the first Memorial Day observance (though other places claim the title, too.)

The important thing is not how it began but that it continue. You owe the freedom you still enjoy today to them. Remember them.

Here are some pictures my wife posted last year. Please enjoy a safe and happy holiday celebration. And if you see a veteran among the parade goers today, it wouldn’t hurt to stop and thank them for their service to our country. I promise you that inside it can really help make them feel their sacrifices are worthwhile.

World War I Memorial, Washington, DC

na-WWI-Memorial

World War II Memorials, Washington, DC
ww2memorialDC
ww2 marines-memorialpacific atlantic ww2

Korean War Memorials, Washington, DC
washington-dc-korean-war-veterans-memorialKorean-WarKorean War Memorial in the Snow 04

Vietnam War Memorials, Washington, DC
vietnam-memorial-three-soldiersvietnam-war-nurses-memorialvietnam-veterans-memorial-washington-dc-ilker-goksen

Tomb of the Unknown
an american soldier

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to spend time honoring the fallen close to you, or those who, as President Lincoln put it, gave the last full measure of devotion, or anything else you wish to discuss.

Memorial Day, May 26th, 2014

World War I Memorial, Washington, DC

na-WWI-Memorial

World War II Memorials, Washington, DC
ww2memorialDC
ww2 marines-memorialpacific atlantic ww2

Korean War Memorials, Washington, DC
washington-dc-korean-war-veterans-memorialKorean-WarKorean War Memorial in the Snow 04

Vietnam War Memorials, Washington, DC
vietnam-memorial-three-soldiersvietnam-war-nurses-memorialvietnam-veterans-memorial-washington-dc-ilker-goksen

Tomb of the Unknown
an american soldier

Iraq War Memorial, Washington, DC

?

Afghanistan War Memorial, Washington, DC

?

Open thread–have at it!

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 28th, 2012: Memorial Day


When I was younger, and my parents and relatives got together, they would often refer to various brothers, uncles, cousins, friends and neighbors who were “lost in The War.” “The War”, of course, meant World War II. Back then, most of the names mentioned in those conversations had little meaning to me: I had never met them; they had died before I was born; and, while I had heard of “World War II”, I had no inkling of its scale, its horrors, or its impact on the world, the country, and on my family.

Dad (Stephen R. Sechny) in uniform


My dad served in the Navy during The War, but he never served overseas. I don’t know (he never said) why this was so; his role in The War was as secretary/chauffeur/aide to the bigwigs stateside. I am ashamed to say that none of us kids never really asked, as dad tended to tell long, drawn-out stories, drifting off onto tangents so often that we usually lost interest or lost track at some point.

Speaking of going off on tangents, yesterday’s “UP with Chris Hayes” had several segments that should be revisited today. Unfortunately, I could not figure out how to embed the videos, so here’s the link. I highly recommend watching the first three segments.

This is our daily open thread — share your thoughts on today’s topic, or discuss what you want to.

Watering Hole: Monday, May 30, 2011 – Memorial Day

We are a warring nation.  Some served in our military voluntarily while others were drafted.  Regardless as to why someone served, today is a day to remember those that served and lost their lives.

A list of wars:

  • American War of Independence – 1775 to 1783
  • Northwest Indian War or Little Turtle’s War or Miami’s Campaign – 1785-1795
  • Franco-American Half War – 1798-1800
  • Barbary Coast War or Tripolitan War – 1801-1805
  • War of 1812 or Second War of Independence – 1812-1815
  • Second Barbary War or Algerian War – 1815
  • First Seminole War – 1817-1818
  • Arikara War – 1823
  • Winnebago War orLe Fèvre Indian War – 1827
  • Black Hawk War or Black Hawk Campaign – 1832
  • First Sumatran Expedition – February 6 – 9, 1832
  • Second Seminole War or Florida War – 1835 – 1842
  • Texas War of Independence – 1836
  • Mexican War or U.S.–Mexican War – April 25, 1846 – February 2, 1848
  • etc…

There are 61 more wars to add to this list.  You can view the rest here.

Let us not forget the “TV” war – Vietnam.  If George W. Bush actually fought in Vietnam, he would not have been so eager to invade Iraq.  Approximately 58,220 American soldiers lost their lives in Vietnam.  This doesn’t include the millions of Vietnamese that were killed.  War is not the answer.  After all, what is war good for?

This is our Open Thread – Speak Up!  Our freedom demands it.