Thursday, June 7, 2007

Belated Memorial Day Thoughts

So, walked over to the Methodist cemetery next door to the college last week. It was very beautiful up there where I stopped--a perfect site for the dozen benches placed there. They're set up pew-like facing a cross, so I imagine one could hold a prayer service right there in the cemetery. There was a strong, warm breeze whipping up all the flags placed for Memorial Day. "The famous dead, hard honors won, see they their pennants fly?" I would rate a flag, if there's anyone around then still doing those things. I want Psalm 138 on my tombstone, "Forsake not the work of Thy hands."

L., for some reason, thinks that's awful. She had a tough time around her father's death. Perhaps she thinks my interest in funereal details macabre. Or dilettantish-- her father was a real veteran. Patton's Third Army. One shudders to think what he saw. He never mentioned his service, but he would take L. as a child to war movies. Maybe he was trying to convey something of his experiences to her. He would have nightmares, she says.

When I see young men acting in their heedless or arrogant ways, I try to feel tolerance for them. They may be using that energy and rude elan someday to fight for me. As they are, now, in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I am grateful.