Memorial Day

27 May 2019

Repost from Memorial Day, 2013:

For readers outside the United States, today is Memorial Day in the US.

While for many, the holiday is only a long weekend marking the beginning of summer, Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day because flowers were used to decorate gravesites, was established in 1868, following the American Civil War to commemorate men and women who died while in military service.

PG took this photograph of the American military cemetery in rural Tuscany near Florence. Most soldiers buried there died in World War II, fighting in Italy.

PG's Thoughts (such as they are)

16 Comments to “Memorial Day”

  1. “PG took this photograph of the American military cemetery in rural Tuscany near Florence. Most soldiers buried there died in World War II, fighting in Italy.”

    P.G.

    Nice pic.

    I think every member of UKIP should study that photograph, in an attempt to remind them of just why the EU is an enormous success. Europe has been solidly engaged in killing each other for hundreds of years prior to the EU being set up.

    I did hear someone on twitter today wish others a happy Memorial day. That isn’t really appropriate, is it?

    A few years back, I visited a small city on the northern outskirts of Atlanta on Memorial Day. Almost every house had a white cross erected with the name of the person who had been killed in battle. Sons of those houses. It was sobering that so many had died from this little town.

    brendan

    • Thanks, Brendan.

      Relaxing is fine, but reflecting a little is better.

      Earlier today, I was thinking of a friend and former client, a Navy SEAL who survived four combat tours in Vietnam. He was an instructor in SEAL school when he retired after 20 years of service.

      He says nobody hates war more than someone who has fought on the front lines in a war.

    • I did hear someone on twitter today wish others a happy Memorial day. That isn’t really appropriate, is it?

      Indeed.

      Perhaps: “Hail the blessed dead,” honoring their sacrifice, their gift to us who prosper because of them, and their loss

    • Europe has been solidly engaged in killing each other for hundreds of years prior to the EU being set up.

      And Europe stopped killing each other a decade before the EU was set up. Frankly, the presence of the U.S. Army squatting on one half of the continent, and the Red Army on the other half, did a lot more to prevent Europeans from fighting one another than any bureaucratic coalition ginned up by politicians after the fact.

      The fact that those are American graves in Tuscany should give you cause to reflect before beating the drum for an unrelated political project. Apparently it doesn’t.

      • “And Europe stopped killing each other a decade before the EU was set up.”

        Tom,

        Forgetting the Balkans?

        “The fact that those are American graves in Tuscany should give you cause to reflect ”

        That was precisely the point. In fact it was Clinton’s Americans that came in to help sort out the Balkans, if you’ll recall.

        The fact that it was American graves seemed precisely the point. The fact that we Europeans couldn’t stop fighting with each other until the Americans came and helped us.

        The EU seemed very relevant to me. It is providing the glue that keeps us together and I simply don’t understand that you can’t see it.

        Fair enough, peace to you.

        brendan

      • Europeans were not “fighting one another”. This was not a civil war. It was a war between nations. Until the creation of the EU Europe was no more an economic or political unit than North America is today.

  2. Stunning, and sobering picture, PG. And Brendan, yeah I get a wee bit twitchy when I see “happy” Memorial Day. It’s a day of reflection and thanks for me and mine. And for hanging the flag outside. We do the picnic/steaks on the grill/happy long weekend thing on Sunday, but the Monday is for remembrance.

  3. Thank you for this post, P.G. As the daughter of a career U.S. Army soldier, I appreciate it so much when others honor our Veterans and not just for their sacrifices when they are in harm’s way. Even in peacetime, military personnel spend a lot of time away from their families.

    • You’re welcome, Beverly.

    • Beverly, thanks for highlighting this aspect of sacrifice. I tend to think of my father-in-law, who flew on the big bombers in WWII, wondering on each mission if he would return; and of my own father who served in the Korean War before I was born. But sacrifice has many facets, and all are worthy of my respect and gratitude.

  4. Thanks, PG. A very useful insight for us across the pond.

    With the centenary of the start of WWI next year and the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in 2015 the next few Memorial Days (and November Remembrance Sundays in the UK) will be especially poignant.

  5. My uncle, Bryce L. Stone, is buried in that cemetery. He was the navigator on a B-17 that crashed in 1945. I have always wanted to visit the American Military Cemetery near Florence and locate his grave. I appreciate the photograph, PG.

    • Andrew – If you send me your email address via the Contact page, I can send you a few additional photos of that cemetery.

  6. It took me a moment (okay, several moments) to realize that the comments from 2013 had been brought forward with the re-post! I was looking at the comments attributed to me and thinking: “That sounds like something I might say, but I didn’t post any comments today!”

    Then I saw the mention of my dad and my father-in-law, and thought: “Wait a minute! That is me! But, but, but…?”

    And then I saw the 2013 date and all became clear!

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