Memorial Day

defined: noun, a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered.

Yesterday, we drove through
small town north Georgia.
Lining the streets were white
crosses, each one with an
American flag and a name
and war written on it.
Each one is remembered.

The veteran stands –the only
one –for the flag when it
passes in the parade, the
names of fallen comrades
in his head outnumber the
tears he can cry.
He remembers.

We fire up the grills, make sure
there are beer and brats,
celebrate summer’s start
and a day off.
Do we remember?

The politicians expect sacrifice
without understanding the concept,
then cut veteran’s benefits, demeaning
their service, 
belittling their importance,
forgetting 
freedom must be fought for.
They, surely, do not remember.

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22 Comments

Filed under Poetry

22 responses to “Memorial Day

  1. I want to think that those who remember prevail. I want to believe that children are taught to remember. But a lot of things I see seem to prove otherwise.
    Thank you for the reminder, Mark.

  2. ugh. the hard reality in that last stanza…how we fail to honor those that gave all you know…there is not even a parade here to commemorate…there is a service over at the DDay memorial but…its rather sad what we have made of this day….nice reflection man…

  3. Mark, this is written so well. Your ending the perfect punch in the gut of politics gone very wrong. Well done. 🙂

  4. Excellent point and choice of pictures as well.

  5. It’s a sad situation, isn’t it?

    Thanks for the reminder that we need to give our veterans their due.

    =)

  6. There last stanza says it all.

  7. That last stanza’s a kicker, Mark. Great remembrance and attention-getter.

  8. Until last year, I didn’t know that so many Americans use this day as a day to party. I’ve even seen them say: “Happy Veterans day” As if they were wishing someone a happy birthday. Don’t they get what the day is about? That good people died, or are wounded or, are still dying, for their freedom and the least they can do is pay respect for their service which helps protect their right to party.
    It is beyond my understanding of what they have and are turning this once deeply felt day of respect and remembrance into.
    Very nice tribute Mark.

  9. Thank you for this poem! In my home town of the 1950s, no one would dare to stay sitting while the flag was passing on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. Even today, though Veterans may stand first, all of us soon stand shoulder to shoulder with them. Gratitude.

  10. I LOVE that your poem addresses the funding cuts and lack of support veterans receive when they return home from active duty. Very important issue and appalling, some of the hardships they face without proper support on return home. Great writing, important poem.

  11. hobgoblin2011

    strong piece. Love how you took the theme in a different direction, the last stanza does make you just want to shake your head, disgusting how they try these things. Great write. Thanks

  12. Definitely have to remember those who fought those hard fights. And yes, all must stand when the flag passes by! And beer and brats are not the important things for sure.

  13. Awesome write, Mark! I think we should celebrate, but we should always remember what it is we are celebrating; those that died so we could celebrate.

  14. Seeing old veterans remember their journey is touching ~ Thanks for sharing this ~

  15. maybe we fire up the grills to commemorate the sacrifice, because that’s what sacrifices were back then…

    four memorial day senryu

  16. I so easily end up ranting, I was afraid to touch anything the least bit controversial especially as I’m not American but am so glad you addressed the way things are in yours Mark – we have the same problems here north of the 49th and it’s disgraceful and heart-breaking. Good poem.

    http://seingrahamsays.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/th_memorial-day/

  17. Damn….sorry, but thats all I can think of to say. Cuts like a deli meat slicer with the guard missing.

  18. So very good…Mark you have done something really special here.

  19. take THAT.
    the names in his head outnumber so many things. tears. people who care. the list of names of the still-living…
    powerful words, these.

  20. Reblogged this on Awakened Words and commented:

    This is reposted from last year. Sadly, not much has changed…

  21. Pingback: Memorial Day | Life, LIBERTY and the Pursuit....

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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