Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day, Royal Oak, MI

It's been a few years since we arrived on these shores, but today, Memorial Day was somehow different to me. We did what we have done for the last few years: went downtown Royal Oak to the parade, where my son was marching; today behind a couple of the Tuskagee Airmen. Myself and my daughter did what we have done, sat on the sidewalk, watched and took photos, and waved at the marchers.

Two things happened that were different - the people standing next to us were gracious in their "thank-you's" to the servicemen and servicewomen who marched - this was new to me. For some reason, part of the purpose of Memorial Day escaped me for all these years, today was a day for this country to say Thanks to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to their countrymen, and also to those who are still with us.

The second thing was, this year, we went to the wreath ceremony at the cemetery, as my son's scout pack was directly involved. There was such a feeling of reverence and pride there - between the aged men and women who watched their comrades fall , to the Fire Department piper and members, and the Police Department members - and also the school band - and many others - the whole feeling was unified and amazing. It's tough thing to say, but today touched me like never before.

Many of these people who were out today have seen hardship like we will never know - many have have seen horrors that we will never see - nor want our offspring to ever see. And yet they still come out on memorial day.

It made me think of an old Australian song - "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda", sent to my ears by Shane McGowan. The song was written by Eric Bogle. The touching lines were:

"But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all"

This made me feel both sad and proud that I was there at a memorial day ceremony. People need to attend these ceremonies - these people cannon be forgotten - and it is a great reality check. Remember the people who keep the wold good.

Now, usually when I think about stuff, I tend to have a bit of an objection to at least a couple of things. Today, I can not say a word.

It's possibly got something to do with the fact that my country of origin has never been involved in conflict like some of these people have. Today - this was different. I identified with the Good People.

Here are some pictures I took. They are not great quality - but as good as I can do with limited space, poor sunlight, and a small girl running into me every 5 seconds... not that I'm complaining...

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