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Memorial Day: Remembrance and Reflections

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“The purpose of all war is ultimately peace.”  Saint Augustine of Hippo

Memorial Day: Remembrance and Reflections... Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial

Memorial Day: Remembrance and Reflections... Graves at Arlington Memorial

Memorial Day is celebrated annually on the last Monday of May and dedicated to the memory of fallen American men and women who died in all wars and armed conflicts. Initially created to honor northern soldiers who died in the Civil War, it became a way to remember those who died in World War I, II and then all wars. In 1971, it was declared a national holiday in the USA.

Every year, we pause in remembrance of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice – to give up their lives so the rest of us might live. Each casualty of war or MIA leaves behind loved ones, family members, and memories of what could have been… How do we ever forget? Who do we remember? As a war survivor myself, I want to remember the innocent children caught in the cross fires, permanently seared by bomber fuel and left for dead in collapsed buildings. I want to remember the mothers bereft of their husbands, fathers, sons, and the Biafran mothers left to watch their children slowly starve to death as birds of prey linger nearby waiting to devour their remains.

War & Lyrics ~ By Bob Marley

I want to remember the innocence of young men and women who left for war whole and returned ravaged by the horror they saw; the horror they experienced and the horror they inflicted on the enemy. I want to remember families left behind, holding pictures of loved ones, nursing broken hearts; the living dead. I want to remember every painful, poignant detail so I will never forget that the spoils of war are hollow; for the victor and the vanquished have both lost their heads… Oh war, such dreadful deeds you cast across the ocean of life; such dreadful deeds.

On Memorial Day, we attend services, we give thanks for our servicemen/women, we join the parade, we eat and reminisce about the lives of loved ones or strangers lost, we celebrate those who made it home, our sons and daughters in the forces, our friends and family; yet, we must never forget that war is not the answer. Peaceful efforts must shape our daily interactions with each other and we must all work together to mitigate the hatreds, greed, and confusions that lead us down the path to war. More Below

“Better than honor and glory, and History’s iron pen, was the thought of duty done and the love of his fellow-men.” ~ Richard Watson Gilder

Memorial Day: Remembrance and Reflections... Normandy American Cemetery... Head plaques

Memorial Day: Remembrance and Reflections... Normandy American Cemetery... sign to site

♥“May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.
May the sunshine warm your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”♥
Amen ~ an Irish Blessing

On this day, we are reminded that war is, unequivocally, the lousiest option for settling disputes. In times of war, in war zones, there are only losers on both sides of the battlefield. While one side might claim victory, the loss of life and the deepening resentments that come from warring creates animosity and a spirit of revenge. War is a terrible thing and the scars are indelible.  As a war survivor, I don’t glorify war for there is no glory in the lingering memories of atrocities committed in the name of peace.

War victimizes all of us as we become victims of embellished war stories; mythical, nonsensical tales that paint rosy pictures of the brutality and unending nightmares of war. The haunting memories of the walking dead, the charred remains of once a friend, the disemboweled food hawker, the bludgeoned infant, are memories embedded in our psyche; torturing us, haunting us even as we gear up for another round in hell. When we focus only on our enemies, we forget the scars we leave on ourselves.

10 Commandments of Mother Earth By Ernest Callenbach via Humanity***

There is no room for celebration only reflection, remembrance, remorse and vigilance to protect our peace. There is no Happy in Memorial Day. How quickly some of us forget that war is ugly and maims the living as much as it does the dead. With all our advancements in communications systems, science and technology, why can’t we find ways to reach out to our aggressors and oppressors to negotiate peace settlements that uplift us all, not negate one side? War is not the answer. May we all work towards PEACE.  What are your thoughts? How do you spend your Memorial Day? What views do you have on war and peace? Do share! Thank you. 🙂

Positive Motivation Tip: War destroys all of us; the innocent and the guilty, the sacred and the profane… Let’s seek Peace.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos of Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Normandy Beach via my personal collection. Arlington Cemetery Graves via Wikipedia

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

39 Comments leave one →
  1. 31/05/2011 12:15 am

    Lovely tribute! My thoughts are than in remembering we must remember the survivors. No one comes home unscarred, unchanged and many have a lifetime of grief as a result.
    Thank you for expressing it so well!

    • 31/05/2011 2:15 am

      I want to remember the innocence of young men and women who left for war whole and returned ravaged by the horror they saw….
      Yes, that is why I have the above in my post too… As a war survivor myself, I don’t ever forget that and my post includes both the living and the dead. Many who fight at the war front come back with psychological issues, trauma and more. I feel for all who are exposed to war and the grief it brings… TY!

  2. 31/05/2011 1:12 am

    It is a wonderful place to share a Tribute about the fallen angels of war. Thanks for caring. I have a friend over there now. 🙁

    • 31/05/2011 2:34 am

      Thank you Jackie, Maybe because I lived through a war and know what it feels like to hear endless machines guns and experience fighter jets bombing our towns, I don’t feel the need to gloss it over. I feel for all who lose a family member and I feel for all military who survive the battlefield with PWTD. I care about them and I abhor war.

  3. 31/05/2011 1:13 am

    I understand you, saying:
    “There is no room for celebration only reflection.
    There is no Happy in Memorial Day.”
    yes, Memorial Day always remembers, how bad things can be,
    and how difficult it often is, to escape.
    Sometimes there is no way out
    – only by the help of military.
    Sad to say this …

    • 31/05/2011 2:31 am

      I hear you Frizztext, sad but true…Yes. 🙁
      I choose to focus on the reality of Memorial Day because it is a day we remember those who died first and foremost. It is also a time to be honest about war and the meaning of it all…
      Sure, we must defend ourselves against oppressors but we must also admit that the atrocities of war make it the least palatable option and our leaders must continue to use it as the last not the first resort…

  4. 31/05/2011 1:13 am

    Love your quote. The wars may not have been fought for the right reasons, but the men in the trenchs and on the ground, sea, or air deserve our gratitude for doing what they thought necessary to protect their homeland and families.

    • 31/05/2011 2:22 am

      Thank you Katherine,
      The recognition of the effort made by those who gave their lives is a given… I never ignore that… As a war survivor, I am grateful for the effort my father, my uncles and others made but it doesn’t change the facts… war is reprehensible and we are all affected by it; directly or indirectly.

  5. 31/05/2011 2:19 am

    So beautiful. That’s all I can think to say, in the face of this.

    • 31/05/2011 2:25 am

      Thank you Deborah as I found your post on this topic very inspiring too… We love our troops; fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, and want them home… War is never the answer; especially when fought elsewhere.

  6. 31/05/2011 3:02 am

    What a wonderful post.

    • 31/05/2011 3:14 am

      Thank you Tilly! Sending you peace and good cheer!

  7. 31/05/2011 1:04 am

    there were some big failures in the history of the US; I don’t think, that the Vietnam war was necessary. (Neither the extinction of the native Indians in the US). But sometimes I am glad, that the US army existed:
    on memorial day always I remember Joe Winter from the Ritchie Boys, WWII

    • 31/05/2011 2:39 am

      Every nation has the right to protect itself; there is no confusion there but there are wars that go on and on, and wars that need never happen. I focus on the peace process because we need to try that approach first and rigorously before resorting to war. TY!
      I think until some people experience war up close they will never understand its long lasting devastation. Real war is not a video game; there are always innocent people caught in the crossfire.

  8. 31/05/2011 6:16 am

    Beautiful post Eliz…such a touching tribute to those lost, those that have survived and all that were affected by war in some way or another. Hoping you had a beautiful day!

    • 13/06/2011 3:02 am

      “The chain reaction of evil — wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
      Ty Megan and peace and blessings to you too…

  9. 31/05/2011 7:20 am

    Beautiful post, I’m sure will touch the hearts of all who read. reflections of our wars, have many faces. The most beauty of it all, our armed forces are making sacrifices eac day, to provide us to live in “Freedom”-giving their all-and even their lives. We must remember them every day in our thoughts and prayers.

    • 13/06/2011 3:07 am

      Thank you for your feedback Penny!
      Although, I am less inclined to see the beauty in sacrifice=death… I commend the collective efforts of our forces and would like to see them safely home with their families. I understand the concept of R2P = right to protect, but it must be used judiciously and as a last resort.
      My prayers go out to all and for all…

  10. 31/05/2011 7:48 am

    I love your St. Augustine quote! It would be to our advantage to remember that no matter what conflicts we are involved in, whether personal or national.

    • 13/06/2011 3:08 am

      Yes it is a great quote and it would be great if all warring factions would heed the advice St Augustine gave… Thnak you for stopping by, I will visit your blog soon.

  11. 31/05/2011 9:20 am

    Patrick Kennedy has just introduced a project he will be working on in collaboration with neuroscience experts on diseases/trauma of the mind. We can only hope that this new research will help the many soldiers who suffer from PTS.

    • 13/06/2011 3:11 am

      I pray so too… I wish there was more public discourse on the atrocities of war and the after effects on those who survive war…. If the research helps even one or one thousand suicidal veterans come back from the brink, that would be a blessing. TY!

  12. 31/05/2011 9:35 am

    This is an incredible and profound post, Elizabeth. I had no idea how deeply personal, reflections of Memorial Day are for you until I read this. War is abhorrent and those who willingly go forth and protect those of us who stay behind are the most selfless of heros. All those who serve deserve our respect and honor every day. Images such as those of which you speak are the ultimate reminder of the barbarity of war. Peace be with all those personally affected and prayer that one day all conflict comes to an end with understanding and knowledge.

    That is the amazing thing about a format like a blog where we can all learn more about each other from all over the world. Learning promotes understanding and with understanding, someday will come peace.

    • 13/06/2011 3:12 am

      TY Karen,
      Our blogs connect us with people from around the world and I am grateful that we have connected in this format. War is abhorrent and you know my point of view on the subject. TY!

  13. InsideJourneys permalink
    31/05/2011 9:59 am

    A beautiful post, Elizabeth.

    Since yesterday, I’ve been thinking of an episode of Star Trek, where war was fought by computers but on each side, real people were killed based on the results of each simulated attack. It was rightly called, A Taste of Armageddon, as of course, the crew got caught in the crossfire and was selected for extinction.

    Following Viet Nam, wars became “sanitized” – we never see body bags being unloaded from military cargo planes anymore – but that doesn’t minimize the losses or cover over the wounds. And except for Memorial Day, we rarely as a country think collectively about any war. No, the rest of us carry on our daily lives oblivious to the human cost a few of us pay.

    No one who’s been touched by war is ever the same. Yet, we keep having them and the cynic in me says it’s mostly all about money.

    • 13/06/2011 3:18 am

      Well said. The sanitization of war has made it easier to sell as a viable option… when infact, it is not a good option unless as a last resort. There is a lot of ignorance about the subject and the age of video games hasn’t made it any easier to grasp… To date, I have seen globally that the causes for war vary from nation to nation; some legitimate and some fabricated = all destructive.

  14. 31/05/2011 10:56 am

    I have nothing but respect for those who defend our freedom everyday. I can only imagine how deep that runs with you, having lived through war. I’m certain it changes people forever.

    My prayer for peace on Earth never ends.

    Thanks Elizabeth!

    • 13/06/2011 3:20 am

      Same here and they deserve their freedom as well. War destroys people and leaves hidden scars on others. May peace prevail…

  15. 31/05/2011 12:36 pm

    Very nice tribute. I love the added touch of Bob Marley, one of my favorite peace activists.

    • 13/06/2011 3:22 am

      I’ve loved that song ever since I heard in London many years ago… It holds a special place in my heart because he touches on many areas where strife ruled; some even till this day in some shape or form.TY!

  16. 31/05/2011 2:25 pm

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power . . . the world will know peace. ~ Jimi Hendrix

    • 13/06/2011 3:23 am

      That will be the day… and maybe nor in our lifetime sadly. TY!

  17. 31/05/2011 11:43 pm

    Great post! I can’t imagine the things you have seen personally…from the stories I have heard from others, it sounds horrifying enough. 🙁

    • 13/06/2011 3:24 am

      It’s all bad… no matter how it’s painted. It’s dehumanizing, debilitating, and destructive. Peace solutions are imperative. .. always. TY!


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