Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

I cannot stop looking at this picture. Here's where I saw it.) Maybe it's the bucketful of extra hormones I've got happening right now, but it is so poignant and heartbreaking to me. Look how her hand is resting on the headstone. I wonder what she's thinking about. I wonder what I'd be thinking about if it were me laying there on the grass in Arlington. It's strange to get to that point of your adulthood where you see others younger than you dealing with life's tragedies and making great sacrifices. Just feels surreal. You know what I mean?

For me in the past, America's Memorial Day was kind of an abstract concept. Beyond the fact that it was a nice long weekend, I didn't personally know anyone to memorialize. The wars I knew of (though there are always wars on the earth) were in the past. It's different nowadays, isn't it? I recognize the egocentricity of this, but it means so much more when there are two wars being fought and when people younger than me are fighting and dying. And yes, I am painfully aware that it's happening in other countries all over the world that don't get as much press, and where there aren't smooth white headstones to commemorate the loss.

Today, I've got this song running through my head--have you heard it? It's from a poem written in 1942. The version I know is sung by David Wilcox. If ya want, you can also listen to Edwin McCain sing it here.

Let Them In

Let them in, Peter
They are very tired
Give them couches where the angels sleep
And light those fires

Let them wake whole again
To brand new dawns
Fired by the sun not wartime's
Bloody guns

May their peace be deep
Remember where the broken bodies lie
God knows how young they were
To have to die
God knows how young they were
To have to die

So give them things they like
Let them make some noise
Give dance hall bands not golden harps
To these our boys

And let them love, Peter
For they've had no time
They should have trees and bird songs
And hills to climb

The taste of summer in a ripened pear
And girls sweet as meadow wind
With flowing hair

And tell them how they are missed
But say not to fear
It's gonna be alright
With us down here

Let them in, Peter
Let them in, Peter
Let them in, Peter

© John Gorka, all rights reserved

Here in Sydney, I hadn't given Memorial Day much thought, to be honest. I'm glad I saw this photo today, though. It's important to know, and remember, and pray.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


  1. How very heartbreaking that picture is.It breaks my heart to think of all the families who have lost a husband,dad,brother,son. They serve,they suffer, and tragically many of them die. May we never become complacent to their incredible sacrifice.God bless them and the loved ones that remain.Thank you for this poignant post.

  2. Wow, that is a powerful photo. And I love the poem. I know what you mean about the idea that this stuff is now being done by people younger than us. Whoa.

    Great post.

  3. The suffering goes on and on. Thanks, Amy.

  4. Good post, Amy.
    That picture breaks my heart.