Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is in play at this end of the world -- a time, for some, to remember those who sacrificed on the battlefields of the past ... on behalf of those who did not sacrifice so much. I put the flag out as usual and after all these years still have no clear idea as to why I did it or what it means. Sometimes I wish I could be as assured (and to my mind idiotic) as those who think they are confirming their patriotism by wearing American-flag lapel pins.

I dunno. I just put the flag out ... the flag of the country I live in and am responsible for. It is good to acknowledge where you are, to take stock ... even when it's confusing and not at all as easy as red-white-and-blue.

A time for cookouts and sports and parades.

Yesterday was my younger son's last baseball game of the season, a game his team won, 18-14 ... a hitting festival on a sunny day. Today my older son competes in Western Massachusetts track ... throwing the discus. Another sporting event in which he will do well, but acknowledges he hasn't got the build to beat all comers.

When I see the kids on the field and when I hoot and holler to the dismay of my off-spring, I can't help but think we are incredibly privileged ... clean and safe and cocooned in a privilege that is ... just the way things are at the moment. I don't begrudge the kids or gnaw on the notion of all the starving and underprivileged people of the world, but I do think we are privileged and full.

Shall I attribute such privilege to our flag and to those who have sacrificed what others have not sacrificed? That reasoning strikes me as facile and self-congratulatory without a satisfactory base. Others feel differently and will make speeches to that effect.

Oh well ... I put out the flag. I holler at baseball games. And I will watch my son throw a disc into the sunshine today.

Happy Memorial Day!


  1. Adam!
    I don’t wish to rain on the Memorial Day parade but I feel the blind support of the “flag” has caused us, and more in particular so many in the world much suffering and grief. The one-eyed beast of Nationalism (in any country) whereby the mind is unquestioning starts very much with the premise that on holiday such as Memorial Day we can wrap ourselves in a convenient emblem and try to convince ourselves its ok to do so, even for a day. To act as unquestioning sheep in subservience to any emblem is an insult to ourselves and to those who died with an unquestioning mind for the flag. The holiday attempts (very successfully) to deaden our souls to the fact that the flag is one of the most despised emblems in the world and for a day turn off our intelligence and fail to ask why is this the case? At times I feel Jingoism was invented in the USA, and Buddhist or not there is a part of the American ethos that condones the perpetration of such a mindset. No contrary opinions allowed!…to paraphrase Bush..” you are either with us or against us!” ESPECIALLY on Memorial Day…… Sad! The Norman Rockwell portrait you tried to paint just doesn't suffice these days.....

  2. Tullik -- Sorry you read things that way. I certainly didn't intend to put rose-colored glasses on the world or the flag ... but, well, perhaps I did. And if so, I apologize and will try to write more carefully in future.

  3. Heck of a post Adam.
    Going to visit Okinawa Peace park with the wife and kids tomorrow.
    Lots of names on walls over there.
    Our side,
    Their side,
    And a bunch of folks who were just unlucky enough to get caught in the middle.

    I'll probably chant the Heart Sutra. Then I will probably get a bit misty. Yeah, I do that from time to time.

    I'll think about what kind of memorials will we have for my brothers in Iraq. What parks for my brothers in Afghanistan. Fuck. We need those parks now. We need them in every fucking town and village. Everybody needs to see all of the names of those who died in these wars.
    We should show the bloody stumps, Disemboweled bellies, and dead kids too.
    We need to remember.
    We need to get a little smarter.

    Posting anon, because someone might think what I said here was inappropriate, and fighting for freedom means I lose some freedom.