Here’s a question: Which war was first commemorated by a Memorial Day celebration?

You’re right, the Civil War.

It was a Yankee Holiday for years and years and later became a national holiday, grudgingly celebrated by the losing side, The Rebels. Who remembers such things? No one. Google is now our collective memory.

What we do know (all of us in the U.S.) is that Memorial Day is the start of summer vacation. The time to get out of the city mentality and into the fun zone.

Of course, many of us are left behind in the city, left behind like our dead who lie forever in the graveyard of our hearts.

Netty and I were coming home from Santa Monica on Friday afternoon at 2:00, a time we thought was early enough to beat the Memorial Day traffic heading out of town. We were not nearly early enough. I guess people leave work and head for the hills by 12:00 or 10 or 9 or 8 or don’t even show up.

Click For Reality

I, ever the impatient one, made a hard right up Westwood Boulevard thinking I’d be able to sweep through Westwood and over to Sunset to catch the freeway there. No go. Everyone had the same idea. Westwood was jammed.

So I made a quick left on Weyburn Avenue trying to escape the bumper-to-bumper mess and zoomed down the hill to Veteran Avenue, which borders…you guessed it, the Veteran’s Cemetery that runs along the 405 Freeway.

The light changed to red. I had to stop.

The sight before me through the iron railing was sobering. A sea of graves and American Flags. It gave me pause and a deep moment to consider my frantic self.

Click For Reality

These poor souls had nowhere to rush to. No vacations to celebrate. No meetings to attend. No dinners to hurry home for. No wives, no children, no sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles…to kiss. Their sturm und drang, their hue and cry, was over now and forever.

So what was my hurry? Where was I going so frantically? What is so important that I rush through the precious moments of my life…every moment above ground, every moment out of the cemetery, all these irreplaceable moments?

It’s not far from these thoughts to question the meaning of life. And from there, my own imminent mortality. Oh, not this week, nor next month nor next year I hope. Not for many years to come, surely.

Were the soldiers in this graveyard in such a hurry to meet their fate? I think not. What wouldn’t they give to linger now in the air above, to while away an afternoon, to be again extravagant in their relaxation, to luxuriate in the breath of life?

The light turned green and the traffic took off at its headlong rush. Some idiot cut me off racing to the freeway on-ramp. Pardon me, not an idiot, an unenlightened person so like me just a moment ago.

I didn’t honk. I didn’t scream. I smiled instead, and waved him on. My small nod to the heroes of this Memorial Day.

 

 

 

 

10 Responses to Memorial Day – A Lesson

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  2. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  3. Lea Rakoff says:

    A great lesson and moving reminder. Cheers to living, breathing, thinking, and feeling!

  4. Maxwell says:

    As always, some sobering thoughts from one of the great minds in the Western
    Hemisphere. Love Ya.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well said my man ! Thank you for that great reminder and reality check . Thanks to my cousin my Dad my uncle and all those who have served and serve our country here and abroad . Frank thanks for puttin it out there !

  6. George says:

    Well said Frank – enjoy the weekend!

  7. Hugo says:

    Nice Frank!

    And thank you all who served and are reading this for your service!

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