Sunday, May 28, 2006
honor and remembrance

As a kid I use to love Memorial Day. There was always a parade in our town. And we lived just about one and a half long blocks off the main street running through our town and the parade pretty much began a few blocks before us. And it usually started early. So I would quickly throw on some clothes, grab something to eat and run up the street to Middle Neck Road to watch the parade pass by....I didn't want to miss any of it...


It was always moving to me. I would always cry. And I think if I saw that same parade today I would cry again. Seeing all the Veterans of all the wars this country had fought up to that point...veterans who were still alive, that is....all of whom would walk the four miles or whatever it was, starting near our house and going through the "New" Village all the way to The Old Village, (as it was known), to a park there where there was a World War One Memorial which is where the parade ended. Some of these men walked with canes. Some were pushed in wheel chairs. Some were very old. And some were terribly young.

There were Bands. Like The High School Band, and some other Bands, too...I don't remember where they were from but it could have been from anywhere. The Boy Scouts marched and The Girl Scouts and of course The Cub Scouts and The Brownies...All the local government officials marched. The Mayors of each of the 9 Townships that made up Great Neck all marched, too.

Church Groups paraded and a group from the one Temple in town, (one year my mother marched because she was president of the Temple Sisterhood..) were all part of the parade along with the Volunteer Fireman, The Policeman, etc. There were no floats of any kind...it was before that phenomenom...I'm sure there are probably floats today, but I don't know that for sure. What would make me cry? Well, just about everything. But in particular it was the Veteran Soldiers and Sailors and Marines. And the other branch of the armed forces very prominant in our parade, the Merchant Marine. They marched too, because The Merchant Marine Academy


was and still is a part of one of the 9 Townships that made up Great Neck, Kings Point, which was at the other end of town from where we lived in Thomastown. (Our house was in a little area of Thomaston known as Belgrave Square where all the streets were named for streets in Belgrave Square, London---like Grovesner's Place, Brompton Road, Buckingham Place, and Pont Street, which was the street our house was on.)

Memorial Day always brings up memories of all the soldiers lost, in all the many wars this country has fought, since it first began...and of course, this year I think of all the soldiers lost in this current war in Iraq. The soldiers lost and the many soldiers wounded, too. Killed In Action. That is the phrase used by The Government. "We regret to inform you....", that is how the telegram begins. The dreaded telegram with this terrible terrible news. We had a War Memorial in Great Neck for all those lost in World War 1, (On The Village Green, as already mentioned), and another for all those lost in World War 2, which was very near the Great Neck Train Station. It was on the street level as you approached the station by car....I thought it was quite beautiful and it always put a lump in my throat too, even as a small child. Of course, I cannot find a photograph of that War Memorial, but here is this incredibly impressive and moving Memorial for World War II in Washington, D.C. A fitting Memorial for a war that the country really got behind. No war is a good war. But some wars, it seems, are necessary though the losses are incredibly painful to those who's loved one's have died. Everywhere in our Capitol there is evidence of the "Honoring" of the dead. I think the most poignant evidence are these two images. And this one, too.... And, maybe the most poignant image of all is this one... The words on the tomb of The Unknown Soldier say what Memorial day is all about better than I ever could. Let me quote these words and leave you with this thought before I do: Memorial Day is about remembering and honoring those men and women who have given their lives to preserve our rights and our freedoms. They gave their lives for all of us, and in a very specific way, they gave their lives so that each of us can sit here and write our blogs and say whatever we damn well please. A high price to pay for these hard fought freedom's, I know.

Well, I for one, thank them all with all my heart, and say 'Bless You' on this Memorial Day, 2006.

Here is the quote:

"Beneath this stone

Repose the Bones of Two Thousand One Hundred and Eleven Unknown Soldiers

Gathered After The War

From the Fields of Bull Run, and the Route to the Rappahannock.

Their Remains Could Not Be Identified. But Their Names and Deaths are

Recorded in the Archives of Their Country; And It's Grateful Citizens

Honor Them as of Their Noble Army of Martyrs. May They Rest in Peace!

September, A.D. 1866

We Must Never Ever Forget

What We Have Lost

In Order

To Have Gained

What

We

Have

Gained

***UPDATE: I just read the most wonderful post by "Ex Scienta Veritas"...it is incredibly moving and something not to be missed on this Memorial Day. Please, do yourself a favor and go over and read this post and click on the photographs, too....I have put the link right on his name...so pass your curser over it and you will see the shadow...just click and it will take you right there...1:54pm***









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42 Comments:
had this to say:

Morning!
Michele sent me today..

Thats wonderful that you have thos ememories. Our down doesnt really celebrate anything at all.. Seems the only thing they get excited about here is Homecoming weekend for the foot ball team.. Silly isnt it!

Now this year is the first year i've really seen decorations in town for memorial day. And it really surprised me.. I'm glad to see it though!

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 2:14:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thank you. That was beautiful and eloquent.

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 4:12:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

This should be taught to the young ones now-a-days. These are memories never to be forgotten no matter what. They are heroes of war. Those who have survived the war still have the memories of their past and some of them have been traumatized by these war.
Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 5:28:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Happy Memorial Day Naomi..
wow, you could have described the same parade in the little town where i grew up!! Since i moved back to NJ I went back and saw each parade (which hadn't changed much since I was a kid)..but this year my brother can't get around and it will be the first year I've missed it since being back in NJ.. but it's pictured in my mind soooo much like what you described! The local band and the scouts marching and any vets from our area.. they would do a 21 gun salute over the odest cemetary in our town, which happened to be right in the center of town. Then the fire department would hold a picnic for all in the town. It was always a day I remembered growing up.
Beautiful post!

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 6:24:00 AM PDT 

Blogger srp
had this to say:

In Columbus, MS there are both Union and Confederate soldiers buried. Many of the small white gravestones are marked "unknown". The women of the town decorate the graves of ALL the soldiers with flowers each year. At one end of the cemetary is a large sculpture with the poem "The Blue and the Gray" on it. The local people tell us the poet was inspired by watching the women carefully place the flowers, even on the graves of the "enemy" soldiers.

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 6:42:00 AM PDT 

Blogger srp
had this to say:

In Columbus, MS there are both Union and Confederate soldiers buried. Many of the small white gravestones are marked "unknown". The women of the town decorate the graves of ALL the soldiers with flowers each year. At one end of the cemetary is a large sculpture with the poem "The Blue and the Gray" on it. The local people tell us the poet was inspired by watching the women carefully place the flowers, even on the graves of the "enemy" soldiers.

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 6:42:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What wonderful memories. It reminds me of the parades in the little town where I grew up.

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 6:58:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Beautiful post Naomi! Thank you for that walk down memory lane. I never been to a parade like that...I wish I had experienced a Memorial Day like that.

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 8:38:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

'Happy' Memorial Day - hmm, happy doesn't really fit the bill..

Poignant epitaph, and sadly most countries have a tomb of the unknown soldier....

cq

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 9:06:00 AM PDT 

Blogger srp
had this to say:

Here from Michele this time.
I love the picture with the wreaths at Christmas. What a loving gesture. I have seen a small military cemetery here in Norfolk as I go to the Bay tunnel and mean to stop sometime and just visit.

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 9:28:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

wonderful post. Once I remember cleaning up the cementary right before memorial day, that was before we moved from where I was born, so I couldn't have been any older than six. I suppose they hire out the job today.

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 10:26:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Hi Michele sent me. Interesting blog you have!

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 10:30:00 AM PDT 

Blogger Jim
had this to say:

Your post today has gotten me to thinking about things like this, more so than today's newspaper.
Most military cemeteries I have seen have markers all over the place of those no one knows.
When we were in Italy the first time (for me) we visited an American cemetery. They are all over Europe--in France too.
We visited the office there, looking for a name, Eugene Pitre. He is Mrs. Jim's brother who had been shot down over the Mediteranean in WWII. Just him and his P-38.
We knew they had never found his plane or body, but there was no record of him either. We didn't ask enough questions but have decided later that their computerized list was just of those known to be burried in the national cemeteries.
Mrs. Jim hasn't said anything yet today about him, I will bring him up now.

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 11:18:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Moving post and touching memories, Naomi. Thank you for these beautiful words and photos!

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 11:22:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Gosh, your blog looks good. Haven't been here for awhile. Lovely post, very heartfelt.

Here from Michele's today.

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 11:54:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a lovely post. I had to speak up, too, but yours is so much more eloquent.
It really ticks me off that people think this weekend is just a Holiday dedicated to start the summer vacation season. People seem to have forgotten what it's for.
I think it is also to remember those in your own family who have passed away, and go to their grave and clean it up and bring flowers.

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 1:26:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Very nicely said. I so love going to parades as well. Your description reminded me of the 4th of July parade we went to at my Uncle's last summer... he lives in a small town where all the churches and businesses, firemen and police came out to march.

Stopping by via Michele to say hello this afternoon!!! Happy Memorial day!!

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 2:05:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Nice post and since we don't have that kind of holiday here but still greet you nice day for Memorial Day

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 2:12:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Very moving post, Naomi. Thanks for the memories and for sharing the true meaning of what today is all about.
I've visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and it was extremely moving.

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 3:06:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What an impress post! Thanks for stopping by and the nice comments. ;)

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 3:19:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Hi, I have just popped in to say thankyou for your visit to holtieshouse and the message you left for my birthday, the overwhelming response to which has me truly humbled, please call in anytime you are in my area.
BTW our equivilent to Memorial day would be ANZAC day which is on April 25th each year.

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 3:22:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Peter said what I was going to say we have ANZAC day here the NZ stands for New Zealand.

Happy Memorial Day Aunty Em.

BTW you may want to revisit me today sometime *smile*

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 3:34:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

An impressive post, Naomi. I used to march in our town's parades too; as a member of a drill team. It was stirring even then.

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 4:22:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a beautiful post, Naomi. I think you've said it so well for everyone. In fact, I was just thinking that Memorial Day seems to finally be getting the acknowledgement that it deserves. Well said!

Michele sent me back here today!

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 7:24:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wonderful post as always Naomi. I am grateful for the ones who have given so much for their country. As the song Billy Ray Cyrus sings, "All gave some, some gave all."

Wonderful tribute Naomi. Just wonderful!

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 9:43:00 PM PDT 

Blogger mar
had this to say:

That was wonderful as always, and very informative ,too , for those of us who are not US citizens. Michele sent me this time!:)

Monday, May 29, 2006 at 10:56:00 PM PDT 

Blogger mar
had this to say:

Hello again, my dear! Miss Wings sent me over this time :) Isn't this wild??

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 12:50:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Ya know I read somewhere that the soliders who guard the tomb of the unknown solider,do so in shifts, and actually bunk in bunker underneath. Do 4 hour shifts. There's a whole list of things they can never do, even when off duty. It's pretty kewl.

Stopping by from Wendys!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 8:22:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Amazing photo of Arlington during winter.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 11:21:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Hey, here from Wendy's. Great post, I enjoyed seeing the pictures.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 11:27:00 AM PDT 

Blogger dan
had this to say:

Personally, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is the most moving place in this entire country.

The Unknown Soldier is the only soldier in the world honored with the highest medal that a country can bestow; from multiple countries.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 12:30:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm here via Wendy :-)

I am so thankful for our brave men and women who fight to ensure we remain free - but it does come at a price, not only for the, but their wives, children, parents, even grandparents. I have many friends who have already served in Iraq, one who is currently stationed somewhere in the area, and a cousin who is training to go over there - just waiting for the direct order.

They deserve our respect. Thanks for the wonderful post!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 12:54:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Growing up in the suburbs of Washington DC, these holidays never got past me. Very important.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 2:10:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Kings Point looks like some sort of magical place to grow up. It's mind numbing to look at all those graves & try to comphrehend under each is someone who sacrificed their life for our country.
This was such a beautiful tribute, Naomi.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 2:45:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Man that post was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes

People sometimes forget Memorial Day is about more than beer and bbqs

Thanks for reminding everyone :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 3:12:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Love your Memorial Day Post.
I just dropped in on my way to bed after my cookies from Wendy's.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 6:23:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

That's a beautiful post. I can remember going to Memorial Day parades as a little girl in my Grandmother's town. We were one block from Main Street, and we'd all head to the parade and wave our little flags. Such memories.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 7:49:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Mike Ex Scientia Veritas always has wonderful, thought-provoking posts.
Your post is wonderful.
I can't imagine hearing those words: We regret to inform you...
Very moving words and photos.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 8:30:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wendy sent me!
As I was reading your post about Memorial day it reminded me of the first time I was at the Tomb of the unknown. It was a very hot June day and the cicadas were very noisy, my husband and I were strolling through this beautiful monument to our fallen and we heard the caisson approaching. We were in Washington DC the day that Ronald Regan died so the pomp and circumstance was beginning. We had been to the WWII memorial and I was emotional as my dad had been a veteran. My husbands dad had been in Korea and it was emotional to see those ghosts walking. I didn't realize just how emotional I would be, but I found myself gasping for air as I tried to control my sobs as we witnessed the Wreath at the Tomb of the unknown. I was overwhelmed the whole time in DC, with the history, the dedication and the sufferage forour land. Thanks for the reminder.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 8:56:00 PM PDT 

Blogger Chi
had this to say:

These are indeed wonderful & heart-touching memorial sites and I was deeply moved by your post.

Wendy sent me here & I am so very happy that she did...your blog is magnificent. *s*

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 12:39:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thank you, Naomi, for once again teaching us why it's so important to remember the sacrifices that have been made in the name of freedom.

I ache when I think of those who have given their lives - and continue to give their lives - so that we can have a free and just society. I ache when I think of how many of us take it for granted.

This entry should be a must-read for anyone who still doesn't get it.

Saturday, June 3, 2006 at 5:50:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm a little late getting to this post, but thanks so much for it. I have the telegram sent to my grandmother when my grandfather was killed in WWII. They are all gone now and someone needs to remember the sacrifices made so we can live in freedom. It's more than just a day off from work. Thanks, Naomi.

Saturday, June 10, 2006 at 1:38:00 AM PDT 

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