No one in my family died serving in the military which makes Memorial Day not quite hit home for me the way it must for others who lost relatives. During WWII, my mother was a WAC, a second lieutenant in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and my uncle was a bombardier. I had several friends who fought in Vietnam and my first husband served in the Air Force. But though I’ve no immediate connection to military service, I’ve read much about both WWI and WWII and have followed more recent wars, so I do appreciate those who fought and died serving our country.
As I write tonight, I am also aware of those little children who died yesterday, simply living their lives, going to school in a small Texas town. The gunman who entered their elementary school and shot 19 children and 2 teachers ended lives that deserved to flourish, to be allowed to grow up and serve their country in whatever ways their talents might lead them. Their deaths echo all the others killed in the more than 200 mass murders the U.S. has endured this year.
I think, too, of the many lives horrifically lost by Russia’s senseless invasion of Ukraine, a war we’ve been helplessly witnessing daily for the past three months on our TVs–a war that needs to be stopped before it evolves into a global nuclear catastrophe.
I think, too, of Jews killed in the holocaust, of Japanese-Americans interned, of Native-Americans indoctrinated to loss of their own culture, of immigrants dying as they flee for freedom, of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, of those unjustly suffering and dying in autocratic nations, of China’s genocide of Uyghurs, of Taliban’s destruction of women.
I think, too, about the lives ended by Dupont Corporation (and others) whose evasion of laws corruptly allowed their chemical waste to poison our land–and our very beings to such a degree that 99% of all living creatures on earth have these non-disposable chemicals in our bodies now and forever–a problem poignantly portrayed in the 2019 film, Dark Waters.
I think of my father who died twenty years ago at age 86, a man of great courage and fortitude, who, through love for humankind, fought every adversity to help and heal others and serve his God.
I think of several special dear friends–and also dear dogs–who died too soon.
I think of them all–the soldiers, the children, the family members, friends, those near and far, those known and those simply known of. All of them matter. All deserve to be never forgotten.
Who will you remember this Memorial Day?
Artwork: Civil War Home, Fisherville, Tennessee, watercolor, approx.36″ x 28″, sold. I was shown, by one who knew this house, where a Yankee bullet pierced the front door during the Civil War. You could put your finger in the hole. It was a haunting home where the past permeated the present–one might think a hoop-skirted woman peaked at the window. I painted there alone several times and upon numerous occasions took my adult students there to paint.