Hope everyone enjoyed the Memorial Day Weekend. I took a long walk down the entire length of the Mall yesterday and it was deeply affecting: Vietnam veterans and their families clustered around the Vietnam memorial with wreaths and flowers, WWII veterans and their families clustered around the WWII memorial with candles and names. I passed the circle of flags surrounding the Washington Monument, fluttering at half mast, and then, just to add a pinch of the surreal, came upon the remnants of the Memorial Day parade, which apparently featured an entire battalion of ersatz revolutionary war soldiers, complete with muskets and bed rolls, who were tending their horses and snacking in the shade.
Memorial Day began just a few years after the end of the Civil War, as survivors attempted to reckon with the carnage. We are blessed, I suppose, to live in times when carnage of that magnitude does not touch our shores. But our current wars grind on; claim their dead. We seem not much closer to a world without war than we were on the first Memorial Day.
So may next Memorial Day bring not one more name — American or Iraqi — on a grave. Not one more stone upon which wreaths may lay and flowers perch.