Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

I did some driving today and listened to some NPR. Sigh. Like many Americans today (including, evidently, our President) there is some confusion as to the purpose of Memorial Day. All of the shows had Veteran oriented themes, but that would more appropriate to Veteran's Day, which we don't celebrate much anymore. Memorial Day is about remembering and honoring the dead. (I can understand NPR's dilemma. Dead people make for poor radio.)

Any way no one has ever said it better;

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


Mike Looney said...

The problem is the US has two holidays, where ever one else has one. Memorial day is for the dead. Veteran's day, as currently constructed, is for living and dead veterans. Nov 11th is "Remembrance Day" to most of the rest of the English speaking world.

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.

Mike Looney said...

Oh, and for the record, "Happy Memorial Day" is inappropriate.