Monday, May 30, 2011

more than a picnic....

i find memorial day a complicated 'holiday.'
i really do.

it's not about picnics or celebrating or a whole lot of the stuff i see
happen.

i'm not against any of that stuff. i just wonder where the 'real' stuff is.
and no, i don't see what would feel real to me in the shooting off of guns
at arlington cemetery or stuff like that either.

i do like to see the vets riding around on the motorcycles.
i guess it helps me to know that they have a group that understands
each other, knows what they've been thru and supports each other.
but the american flags i see waving from them, usually pulls at my
heart in a sad way. i so wish they were flags of the world.

just last week i sat on my couch with a mom who lost her son to suicide.
he had come back from afghanistan, wasn't coping, and went to a military
hospital that later got closed down as it had so many of its patients
committing suicide.

sit with that thought for a moment.
she will be sitting with it every single moment of her life now.

a friend of mine just lost her husband. he'd been battling some horrible
cancer for years. and finally passed. he's a vet. was exposed to agent
orange.

i think back to the funeral the guys and i went to of the young man in
our area who died in the war. we went to show support to the family.
people lined up and down the highway.

i couldn't help but notice that the crowd wasn't the 'harvard' crowd.
i couldn't help but do a lot of thinking about the distribution of
the different economic classes in the military.

i kept wondering what those parents were telling themselves.
were they telling themselves their son died a hero? does that help?
is that what you do to live with it?

my buddy who's an air traffic controller in afghansitan just posted on
facebook about some bomb going off and killing some doctors over there.
when i asked him about it, he said he was pretty numb to it all now. and
that it was watching the little kids pick thru the garbage heaps that
got to him these days.

pick a story, any story....and you'll find pain and suffering and death.

i'm not a complete pacifist. i'm a person with no answers who knows that.
i don't have any answers, but i believe with all my heart that there's
much much much much more we could be doing to find different ways, to
work the world differently.

i have a bone sigh i wrote when someone in my life died.
in my own way, it's my memorial day bone sigh as i wrote it to
honor someone's passing.

weeping and aching, i longed to honor your passing.
i longed to honor your life.
searching everywhere, i found only one answer.
honor myself.
become all that i am.
and carry you inside that beauty.



for my heart, that feels like what memorial day should be about.

wouldn't it just be awesome if on this day we were bombarded with
news of the progress that groups and conferences and committees and
people had made in efforts to find better ways to resolve conflict,
to understand cultures and hatred? what if this was the day for the
yearly report and all these groups worked all year to bring something
to the table? wouldn't that be such an honoring!

one of the things that sits heavy on my mind is that the military
is a way out of a rough home life for so many kids. it's a way for
them to have a life they couldn't have otherwise. it's a way to belong,
and feel confident.

to me, that's shameful that that is all we have to offer them.
what if we offered those same benefits to young people with the purpose
of having them join groups to find other ways to solve world problems?
i don't think you have to be a harvard graduate for that. i think you
need to be trained in an open mind, creativity, understanding, openness,
thinking outside the box. trained in that stuff. can you imagine an
intense training in that? the 'be all you can be' slogan would make a lot more
sense!

what if that was the group some of these people with no way out joined?
what if that was the place they found the things they were looking for?
and in the process, helped the whole?

i know.....i know......i can dream all i want.
but see, for me, that's what memorial day is.
a time to hold all this pain and dream what we could do, what we could have.
and start talking out loud about it.

because, to me, in doing that, i'm honoring all that pain and suffering and death.

i'm not just having a picnic.

16 comments:

AJ said...

amen li'l sis...

Merry ME said...

Well said.

Patricia Michael Melnice said...

What AJ said . . .
amen.

pokettiger said...

Amazing post that captures some of my own conflicted thoughts about Memorial Day. If you can find someone willing to really talk about what it is like to be in a war the answer most often is "War is hell." My uncle who fought in WWII wouldn't talk about it. I know one vet from Vietnam who said if there was ever a draft he would gather up his grandsons and take them to Canada. He knows from experience what war can do to a person.

Anonymous said...

I'm absolutely blown away by this post!!!
You bring up so many good points, I don't know where to begin to respond. We'll have to get together for a marathon coffee date to address all of these points.
I'll just say, "well said."

oxoxox
Denise

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Beautiful!

Melanie said...

beautifully written..

mistylilacs said...

A beautifully written piece on Memorial Day!! We have a dear friend leaving for Afghanistan on June 11th. We are all a nervous wreck!! I think it's a day to be somber and remember all those who have died in wars. So many young men and women whose lives were lost.
I grew up in the Vietnam era and that war was dreadful.

carbiebash said...

Very nice and so well written..States my thoughts so well too

carbiebash said...

So nice and beautifully written..States my thoughts completely..

Sue Ustas, ZuZu's Healing Arts said...

Beautifully written, I agree, thank you Terri for always being brave enough to share your thoughts and feelings, even when others might not agree. xoxo

Rescuing Little L said...

i share many of these same sentiments and i thank you for posting. this is a difficult occasion and "holiday" just seemed like the wrong word to use as i look at it freshly today...see, you opened my eyes again...

Pamela Jones said...

Great minds...

Christa said...

As you know, I'm with you n this. It's a really difficult day for many. Thanks so much for putting all this out there - great food for thought. I like that kind of picnic!

lghahn01 said...

Here in Hawai'i, we have a wonderful event that has touched literally thousands of people from around the world. It is a ceremony held on Memorial Day whereby we light a candle for the spirits of those who have passed. The site below has videos and some thoughts ... It is the most peaceful event that I have ever witnessed. This year, 3,000 boats ... Over 40,000 people attended. It was also streamed live on the internet. It was beautiful ! It was peaceful ... it was pure love and release ...

http://www.lanternfloatinghawaii.com/

lghahn01 said...

Here in Hawai'i, we have a wonderful event that has touched literally thousands of people from around the world. It is a ceremony held on Memorial Day whereby we light a candle for the spirits of those who have passed. The site below has videos and some thoughts ... It is the most peaceful event that I have ever witnessed. This year, 3,000 boats ... Over 40,000 people attended. It was also streamed live on the internet. It was beautiful ! It was peaceful ... it was pure love and release ...

http://www.lanternfloatinghawaii.com/