I become pensive around Memorial Day. I remember those whom, as the Episcopal liturgy says, “we love, but see no longer.” They are special friends, but, as the Warrior’s Toast puts it, “absent friends” and I will toast them this Memorial Day as every other Memorial Day.
The odd and the small things are what you remember. There is strange laugh and the crooked smile. There are strong, calloused hands playing a guitar, stopping every now and then for a sip of beer. They are faces, captured at 19 and frozen in time while the gray has come to my hair and mustache. They died defending freedom and Memorial Day is their day.
Remember them this weekend, my friends. Mourn them. Celebrate them. Be thankful for them.
Selected Memorial Day Reading
To the Last Man: A Novel of the First World War by Jeff Shaara
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by E. B. Sledge
Give Me Tomorrow: The Epic Stand of the Marines of George Company by Patrick K. O’Donnell
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien