Saturday, May 29, 2010

Flags In

Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) will be joined by service members from the U.S. Marine Corps Ceremonial and Guard Company, U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard in placing more than 250,000 grave decorating flags at Arlington National Cemetery

It's a poignant reminder of the human condition that the unofficial kickoff to the eden of summer is tinged with death: Et in arcadia ego.

Memorial Day has a more piercing importance since we went into Iraq, 5,461 military deaths confirmed by US Central Command for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (which includes Afghanistan.) All those young lives, given in service to us to protect us, whether or not that's actually what's happening.

Eveyone loves Ray Charles's dynamite, definitive version of our unofficial national anthem. What I love about it is that he starts it with the generally lesser-known heroes verse.

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!


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