Friends, Family, and Loved Ones.

As we prepare for this Memorial Day; a time to honor and thank all of those who sacrificed their lives to assure that our American society could continue, I would like to take a few minutes to propose a little thought experiment.

My purpose is to cast neither blame nor judgement but rather to inspire contemplation and encourage conscious choice in our celebratory behavior.

Many of us will gather in groups, Monday, to pay tribute to our fallen ancestors. Imagine you are there, in that gathering now, well before you actually arrive. Think about this example, and let your conscience be the guide to your personal behavior.

Picture in your mind, the celebratory environment you plan. Imagine the size of the crowd. Think about the personalities of the people with whom you will be gathering. Consider their occupations and the number of people they must interact with daily and the closeness of those interactions. Contemplate, based on those factors, how many of the people gathered will be wearing masks and how many will not. Honestly and fearlessly reflect on whether you or your immediate family will be masked or unmasked. Do you have that image firmly in your mind?

Now comes the hard part- please read the remainder with an open mind and do not assume any prejudice!

Imagine that at the culmination of the celebration, a time comes for everyone in the crowd to draw a handgun and fire all rounds straight up, into the air- kind of a all guns salute to the fallen. Appropriate, since we are honoring those who fell in battle to assure our freedom.

Thinking back of the image you formed earlier of your holiday crowd, imagine that all those wearing masks are firing blanks and all those without are firing live rounds.

Ask yourselves, in all honesty, would you wish that you and your family, friends, and loved ones were also wearing military helmets or had, even, chosen to celebrate somewhere else?

For the Farmer and the Fisherman

Today I walked alone,

Silently, among the fallen.

Snowy cold, standing stones

Basking ‘neath the setting sun

Stretching to eternity.

Here among these Legions,

I came across the one

Bearing my mother’s maiden name.

One of many, stretching back

To our very founding;

Fathers, grandfathers and greats.

Not all of whom retired here

To this, once, grand old estate.

Another found, I know, his rest

In a distant mountain stream,

The place he lived his later life,

The place he loved, by far, the best.

I honor them, those grand old men,

My few, among the many,

Not only for their sacrifice;

I honor them, out of love,

And, I suppose, that must suffice.

Honors To an Unworthy Master

In this year, since your passing,

Your son and I have tried our best

To mend the rifts you left behind

When you slipped away in death.

*

We’ve struggled to craft a fitting legacy

So in your eye, we could stand tall.

Our quest has shed some light upon us

And cast a glow down darkened halls

And yet these chasms defy our efforts

To fill and heal, for good and all.

*

Yet still, we hammer at that granite

To true the ragged blocks you left.

This working slays my sheathing anger

But your son, seeks on, bereft.

I pray, one day, he’ll strike the facet,

Split the stone, and find his way.

*

I was not able, while you were living,

To earn that trust I longed to see.

Your son still struggles, feeling keenly,

That worthlessness learned at your knee.

*

So on, together we labor, brothers,

Striking now, to square our ashlars,

Moving forward. 

So mote it be.